Missouri solar 101: must read before you buy solar panels

Last updated 12.01.21

Missouri State 52 solar panels available

  • $1.78 / W Average gross price of a solar power system as of September 2023
  • 8 years Average system payback period
  • $48 901 Average savings from going solar in Missouri
  • 6 ¢ / kWh Levelized cost of solar energy
  • 6.66 kW Recommended system size

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Missouri #24 in the US
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Solar laws, incentives and rebates in Missouri you need to know

Save 30% of your PV system cost with Federal Solar Tax Credit

The US government wants more people to go solar: it’s a modern and green way of getting energy. This is why the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) program was developed. It allows American citizens to claim 30% of the cost of their installation as an income tax deduction. The cost here is not only solar panels, but also shipping, installation expenses and more. For example, if your system overall made you spend $10,000, the government returns you $3,000. To claim the ITC, complete all the necessary forms and submit them when filing your taxes.

Join Net Metering program to cover your electric bills

Net Metering is the main way in which a solar system pays for itself in the US. The idea is always the same: you can sell your excess solar energy into the commercial grid, gain credits and use them to cover your next electric bill. All electric utilities in Missouri have to offer Net Metering to customers with solar systems that are up to 100 kW in size. Net excess generation is credited to your electric bills at least at the avoided cost rate of the utility. Credits last for 12 months and then expire. Consult with your utility company about the rates and conditions of Net Metering they offer.

Save additional $300 to $1,000 a year trading SRECs

Solar Renewable Energy Credits are certificates granted to any person or entity upon generation of each MWh of clean electricity. Unlike with Net Metering, you don’t need to sell any electricity to get credits. The value of SRECs is always changing, which makes them similar to stock market assets. Based on the available data, selling SRECs could mean anywhere from $300 to $1,000 annually for a 10 kW solar system. To participate, first you may want to contact the Missouri Public Service Commission for relevant details. After that, you can create a SREC account with the North American Renewables Registry (NAR) to begin storing and selling your credits.

Columbia Water & Light provides rebates and loans for solar systems

When it comes to solar rebates in Missouri, Columbia Water & Light has an amazing program for their customers which makes purchasing a photovoltaic system much easier. Rebates depend on the size of your system: for the first 10 kW you get from $375 – $625 per kW. Then for every kW until 50 you get $300 – $500. Finally, there is a $150 – $250 rebate for every kW after 50 and until 100 kW. Rebates are calculated based on how well a system is going to perform during times of peak electricity demand for the company. Learn more about the program here.

Columbia Water & Light also provides solar loans to their customers. The maximum size of a loan is $15,000 for home solar systems and $30,000 for commercial. There are no prepayment penalties. Interest rate depends on the loan term: 1% for up to 3 years, 3% for 4-5 years and 5% for 6-10 years. Find the list of requirements and application forms here.

Empire District Electric Company rebates can save you up to $37,500

Clients of Empire District Electric Company can also make use of solar rebates from their utility. For systems installed between July 1, 2019, and December 31, 2023 you get $0.25 per watt. The maximum size of an eligible system is 150 kW, so in theory this Missouri solar incentive can save you up to $37,500. Since the average size of a residential system is between 5-10 kW, the rebate size is more likely to be around $1,000 – $2,500, still quite a lot. The program expires at the end of 2023. Check the conditions and find all the necessary forms here.

Solar systems in Missouri are exempt from property taxes

When you add solar panels to your house, your property taxes don’t change, according to Missouri solar law. A solar PV system in Missouri is exempt from any kind of property tax assessment, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t raise the market value of your house. The incentive applies both to residential and commercial solar installations.

Finance your solar project through PACE program

Msssouri has a special financing mechanism for energy-efficient upgrades called Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE). Homeowners that plan a solar installation can get 100% financing for it through the program with no prepayments. In fact, no payments need to be made for up to 12 months. Interest rates depend on your project and loan term. Some of the money can be repaid through property taxes. Program is available for commercial solar as well. Learn more and check your eligibility here.

Solar easements help settle debates with neighbors

Installing solar panels is good, but only if your system gets enough sunlight. To protect an homeowner’s right for proper irradiance of his panels, solar easements are created. These documents ensure that the sunlight won’t be blocked for panels by, for example, a tree on your neighbor’s land. The easement should be written down and recorded in the county’s register of deeds. All the conditions of an easement you have to negotiate with your neighbors yourself. 

Get a permit and install your solar panels in Missouri with no worries

Generally, in the US you would need a solar permit from your local authorities to install a solar system. Missouri is not an exception. Requirements, however, vary in different cities and counties. Sometimes the whole procedure can be done online – that’s how it is in Kansas city. Usually your installer should know all the details about permits in your area and actually handle most of the work. After the permit is obtained, it is legal to install solar panels on your house in Missouri. Be aware that city or county officials can impose additional fees on you for inspections and documents. 

Solar panels help Missourians survive tornadoes

Tornadoes hit Missouri quite often: the average number per year varies between 30-45, besides tornado activity increased by a lot in recent years. The absolute maximum number was recorded in 2006 with 102 tornadoes. Solar panels aren’t afraid of any harsh weather, including tornadoes. Most of them have wind speeds below 110 mph and PV modules are tested to withstand at least 140 mph winds. Therefore when you consider installing a PV system, you don’t need to worry about tornadoes as a threat. Quite the contrary: an off-grid solar system supplies you with energy when the grid is down, which often happens during natural disasters. 

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