How to Use the Solar Calculator
The best way to learn about local rebates, your home’s energy potential, and your eventual return on investment is to use our ModSun Solar Cost Calculator (see above). Enter your home address in the box, then click Check My Roof. You’ll get an instant picture of your roof’s productivity, your average energy expenses, and installation costs in your area—whether you decide to buy or loan. We’ll also provide system size recommendations and information about rebates and incentives you may be eligible for. Just select More Info under each purchasing strategy to learn more, and then connect with a solar pro.
Solar Power in Missouri
This solar market in Missouri is poised to grow enormously, thanks to publicity of the state’s generous solar incentives in a widely covered state supreme court case that upheld utility rebates for residential customers installing solar power in their homes. That means, if you live in the area, your state’s rebate programs are fairly secure. And it means you’ll have more options for a solar installer than ever before. But it also means you’ll want to get busy planning your installation before an influx of homeowners fills up available incentive budgets. Here’s what you need to know if you hope to install solar power in your Missouri home.
Solar Productivity in Missouri
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates solar productivity throughout the U.S., and found that, with a U.V. index of 0.87, Missouri gets enough sunlight to average 4.5 to 5 kilowatt hours of energy a day. Some areas in the south of the state may even get enough for 5 or 6 hours daily. That can make a hefty difference on your electricity bills, saving you money for things you need.
Popularity of Solar in Missouri
Solar power in Missouri is definitely still a growing industry—at the end of 2015, there were only 141 megawatts of solar capacity installed. That’s about enough to power 14,000—definitely respectable, but not quite booming. However, you can expect that, as in most parts of the country, solar power in the southern midwest will definitely pick up in the next few years, especially as panels become more affordable and widely available.
Average Residential Electricity Use and Cost for Missouri Residents
Though the state as a whole is getting a little bit more efficient, Missouri still sees some pretty high electricity consumption numbers—in 2014, the state consumed 35,793 kilowatt hours of electricity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Association. That’s almost 6,000 kilowatt hours per person, or, in other words, a lot, even if Missourians do pay less, on average, than the majority of Americans, at 9.7 cents per kilowatt, versus 12 cents nationally. Just like residents in the rest of the U.S., Missouri households can get a huge boost in savings by generating their own clean power on their rooftops.
Installing Solar in Missouri
There are only around 15 to 20 solar installers operating in Missouri right now, mostly based in the Springfield and St. Louis areas; however, publicity from the state supreme court’s recent ruling on solar rebates has given a boost to this fledgling industry, bringing new options for homeowners who want to install solar panels on their homes. However, Missourians will still have to wait for large national installers, like SolarCity, because these companies have not yet set up shop in the area. That can make alternative purchasing strategies like solar leases hard to come by; however, with the implementation of Missouri’s Property Assessed Clean Energy program, there are definitely options if you don’t want to purchase your equipment outright.
Missouri State Support for Solar Panels
Solar power in Missouri has certainly come a long way in the last year and a half. In fact, in places like Springfield, in the southern part of the state, demand for solar panels has soared since a 2015 state supreme court ruling upheld a 2008 ballot measure that implemented a rebate for solar households installing solar panels. That upholding may make the difference between utilities that have been reticent to reward solar households and a burgeoning new future for renewable energy. That’s brought new life to the solar industry in Missouri, bringing new installers and giving you lots of options when you install. However, it may also make budget-based incentives harder to come by as demand for them soars, so the sooner you install, the more you stand to save.
Missouri State Solar Incentives
A few statewide incentives are at the heart of Missouri’s solar installation, making solar more affordable for households in the Show-Me State. These include the following:
Net Metering: Net metering is one most popular incentives offered to residents by their individual state governments, Missouri among them. This offering credits solar household’s energy usage against any excess power they return to the grid, letting residents apply those credits toward future bills. In Missouri, net excess credits can only be carried over for 12 months before expiring.
Solar Property Tax Exemption: Solar electrical systems and solar space heaters and water heaters tend to bring up property values in the homes they occupy. However, homeowners in Missouri reap all the benefits of added valuation without the extra cost, because they are exempt from paying any additional state property taxes generated by solar equipment.
And of course, Missouri residents, like homeowners all across the U.S., are eligible for a federal tax credit when they install solar power in their homes. The Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit returns residents with qualifying systems 30 percent of the solar equipment costs. To apply for the incentive, complete IRS form 5695 when you file your income taxes.
Local Solar Incentives in Missouri
The bulk of Missouri’s incentives are available through local utilities that offer a fair share of loans and rebates towards the purchase of solar equipment. Here are the most notable options:
Columbia Water and Light Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Loan: Households served by Columbia Water and Light may be eligible to apply for a low interest loan used toward the purchase of energy efficiency equipment, including solar space and water heaters. The maximum loan amount is $15,000, and the interest rate varies depending upon the length of the loan term—for loan terms up to 3 years, it is fixed at 1 percent; for terms between 4 and 5 years, 3 percent; and for 6 to 10 years, 5 percent. Visit the program website for more information.
Kansas City Power and Light Solar PV Rebates: Customers served by Kansas City Power and Light may be eligible for a production-based incentive that returns them money for every watt of energy their systems generate. The rate of that incentive amount depends on the year that you choose to install; currently, the rates are set as $0.50 per watt for 2016 through the end of 2018. In 2019, however, it decreases to $0.25 per watt. Residents that receive the incentive must agree that their systems will remain operational for at least ten years.
Set the PACE St. Louis: Solar households in St. Louis can apply for the city’s Property Assessed Clean Energy financing program, which offers long-term loans to purchase energy efficiency equipment, such as solar PV and solar water heaters. The loan amount is determined by your property values—specifically, that rate is set at 35 percent, with a $25,000 cap. Interest rates range between 3 to 6 percent. Visit the program’s website for more information.
Columbia Water and Light Solar Energy Loans: This program offers residents loans toward the purchase of solar equipment, at an amount up to $15,000. Loan rates vary depending upon the length of the loan: 1 percent for up to 3 years, 3 percent for 4 to 5 years, 5 percent for 6 years.
Columbia Water and Light Solar Rebates: Those Columbia Water and Light customers who purchase their solar equipment outright are eligible for a rebate through the utility, worth $500 per kilowatt capacity for solar PV, or $400 to $800 for solar water heaters. The maximum incentive for solar energy systems is $5,000.
Empire District Electric Solar PV Rebates: Empire District Electric now offers an incentive to reward customers for purchasing solar power. That rebate amount is production-based, and the rate-per-watt varies depending upon the year of installation. For solar PV installed before June 30, 3016, the amount is $1.00 per watt. For those installed between then and June 30, 2018, the rate drops to $0.50 per watt, and then to $0.25 after that, so the sooner you install the more you stand to save.