Frequently Asked Questions

Why New Prairie?

New Prairie Construction was founded in Champaign-Urbana in 1988. Long committed to green building and renewable energy, New Prairie Construction expanded into designing and installing solar systems in 2015 to answer the call for a reliable and local solar provider to service Central Illinois. Our solid construction background and building science knowledge bring a unique skill set and perspective to each solar PV project.

On an investment this large, using a local installer has significant benefits. People generally feel more comfortable knowing that they are supporting a locally owned and operated business that has a long-standing local reputation. In addition, our solar team comprises in-house qualified NABCEP-certified installers, designers, and technicians with a combined 20+ years of solar experience. 

Our mission is to combine high-tech and time-honored techniques that help our residential and commercial customers reduce their energy costs and environmental footprint through smart, cost-effective solar energy systems.

Is New Prairie fully insured, licensed, and certified?

New Prairie is fully licensed and insured. A certificate of liability insurance is available for customers. 

  • State of Illinois Roofing Contractor License # 104.004856
    (Required for contractors in IL)
  • Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) Solar Installer # P2015-0452
    (Required for Solar Installers)
  • EPA Lead-Safe Certified Firm, Certification # NAT-37555-3
    (Required for work on homes built before 1970)
  • All New Prairie employees are OSHA-10 certified
    (Completion of 10-hour OSHA safety training)
  • NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners Certifications:
  • Brian Barnick, Division Manager, NABCEP Professional Certificate # PV-092021-013593
  • Nate Becks, Technical Design, NABCEP Design and Associate Certificate # PVA-062022-014402
  • Donnie Carlson, Installer, NABCEP Associate Certificate # PVA-021524-015849
  • James Krehbiel, Installer, NABCEP Associate Certificate # PVA-062323-015304

Who will do the electrical portion of the installation?

Water’s Electrical Contracting is our long-standing preferred electrical contractor. IL Electrical License #1600020096. Owner Reference: Ken Waters, (217) 892-2396

Do I need to apply for a permit or call my Utility Provider?

New Prairie will facilitate and assume the cost of the necessary permitting through the correct municipality. New Prairie will facilitate the paperwork for your system’s interconnection and net metering with the utility provider. New Prairie assumes the application fee for interconnection and net metering, but the application will require your signatures as the system owner.

How will I know if my system is working?

Weekly remote monitoring by New Prairie is included in all of our standard contracts for 25 years. You will also have access to monitor your system through an app or web portal to see what your system is producing. If you sell your home, system monitoring will transfer to a new homeowner.

Will a roof-mounted system cause damage?

Most residential rooftop solar panel installations require penetrations through the roof, but the attachment feet that we use do not require lifting of the shingles, minimizing any changes to the integrity of your roof. Solar Panels can also provide protection from UV exposure, helping to prolong the life of your shingles. 

What if I need a new roof or roof repairs before installing solar?

If a new roof installation or roof repairs are needed in conjunction with your solar project, White Roofing & Contracting is our long-standing preferred roofing contractor. IL Roofing License #104.000576. Owner Reference: Joey White, (217) 688-2522 

When will you begin the installation? 

On average, we have a lead time of 4-10 weeks, depending on the time of year. Reputable companies will likely have a similar lead time.

What is your daily schedule?

New Prairie’s installation team will arrive daily between 7AM-8AM unless otherwise notified. Our crews are typically done with their day by 3PM. Final electrical connections are completed between 1-10 days after the panels are installed. City and utility inspections may take up to two weeks after installation, depending on their schedule.

How do I reach you after hours?

Office Phone: 217-344-5131 to leave a message that will receive a prompt reply during business hours or email

How many kilowatts has New Prairie installed, and does New Prairie provide client references?

New Prairie has installed over 1.5 mWh in Champaign, Coles, DeWitt, Douglas, Ford, Iroquois, Livingston, Macon, McLean, Moultrie, Piatt, and Vermillion counties, (and provided repair and maintenance services on many systems that we did not originally install).


Client referrals are available upon request, here are some client reviews available.

What are my financing options?

We recommend that you reach out to your personal bank or credit union to see what kind of financing they have to offer. While New Prairie does not have a specific financing partner, we have done some preliminary research to get you started. The two options below have solar-specific loans available as well as home-equity options. Please reach out directly for more information.

IROQUOIS FEDERAL – Loan Officer, Brenda Crane: or call  (217) 359-6065 ext. 1501

U OF I CREDIT UNION – Loan Officer, Stacey Russell: or call ( 217) 278-7700

What are the current incentives I may be entitled to?

This information was last updated in May of 2024. New Prairie aims to provide the most current information available. Some details are subject to change based on shifts in state and federal laws and regulations.

FEDERAL TAX CREDIT – 30% of the system cost; a credit upon filing your taxes. You or your hired tax professional are responsible for completing the necessary paperwork to receive this credit. Find form #5695 on for more information.

ILLINOIS SHINES, SRECS – The State of Illinois’ incentive; a check back to you. New Prairie will facilitate the application for your state incentive through the Illinois Shines program. Carbon Solutions Group is an Approved Vendor and aggregator of the incentive payment that New Prairie works with. CSG pays in one sum rather than over the course of 15 years. Payments you get from an Approved Vendor through the program help offset the cost of your residential solar system. There are minimal associated fees for this program that we can go over with you before contract signing. 

To learn more about your alternative options for SRECs in Illinois, visit

NET METERING – For Ameren customers, there is a one-for-one exchange of any excess energy your system produces. Systems installed before 2025 are eligible for Net-Metering. For EIEC-qualifying customers, excess energy is bought back by the utility at their on-peak wholesale energy rate. 

REAP – Rural Energy for America Program. Loans & Grants for up to 50% of the system cost may be available if your system is for a rural small business or farm.

What if my system malfunctions?

New Prairie’s 10-year Workmanship Warranty will cover issues that may have happened during the installation for up to 10 years after the installation. New Prairie’s 5-year Service Warranty will cover any service fee for troubleshooting your system. If the labor beyond troubleshooting is not under warranty, there may be additional charges. Your New Prairie PV system comes with a manufacturer Product and Production Warranty.

What is New Prairie’s Full Warranty?


All workmanship is warranted for a period of 10 years from the date of system commissioning. Warranty work will be done at the discretion of New Prairie Construction. Costs incurred for work beyond items expressed in this contract’s scope of work are not included in the workmanship warranty.


System error troubleshooting is warranted for a period of 5 years. If further labor and repairs are required after troubleshooting, additional service fees may apply. If a manufacturer’s warranty covers the additional labor and repairs, additional charges for work past troubleshooting will not occur. 


All PV installations are monitored for system faults by our team on a weekly basis. Monitoring is provided at no additional cost to the customer for a period of 25 years from the date of system commissioning. New Prairie Construction is not responsible for the data connectivity beyond the system gateway or other data connections provided by the homeowner or the Internet Service Provider. Connectivity-based service work is done at NPCC’s sole discretion and may be charged at NPCC’s standard extra rate of $55 per hour with a minimum charge of $150.

System fault monitoring is a service provided by NPCC and can be terminated at NPCC’s sole discretion for the following reasons: 

  • Monitoring capability is no longer provided by the solar inverter manufacturer or is converted to a paid service. 
  • The system owner becomes unresponsive to our inquiries or attempts to communicate for a period of 90 days. 
  • System property owner changes, and contact information is not updated with NPCC.


SolarEdge Inverters purchased through New Prairie Solar have a 25-year warranty. 

PV Modules warranties typically carry a 25-year product and performance warranty but vary by manufacturer. Please let New Prairie know if you would like further information about this. 

Roof Attachments have a 25-year leakproof warranty.