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Congratulations! You've found the ultimate guide to going solar in Missouri

2019 Policy Grade


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Your 2019 guide to getting solar panels for your home in Missouri

This page is a complete guide to the complicated and sometimes confusing process of installing solar panels on your Missouri home. Since there's a lot to consider, we've separated the page into sections to help you find what you are looking for. If you find this page useful, please share it with someone who might also find it interesting!

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** What's new for 2019 **

It’s been years since Missourians voted to adopt a renewable energy standard, which means there's an opportunity for some legislative leadership to spur further growth. But there's some good news for homeowners in the state: The cost to install solar is lower than ever, and there are great rebates out there through June of 2019 to further bring down costs, for folks served by KCP&L, Columbia Water & Light, or Empire District.

You can save thousands of dollars off the up-front cost of solar, combine that with another big cash windfall in the federal solar tax credit, and use electricity bill savings to quickly pay back your net costs. The average homeowner will save thousands over the 25-year operating life of their solar panels, and benefit from increased home value and environmental benefits, to boot!

Questions? There's a lot to lean about home solar on Missouri, and the best way is to speak to a local solar expert. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page, and we'll have a solar expert reach out to assist you.

The Solar Strategy section is focused on the 3 ways of paying for solar in Missouri, so you can decide which is best for you. We've created a tool that asks you a few questions and recommends whether you should pursue a solar lease, loan, or outright purchase. Then, we provide detailed analysis of how each works.

The Solar, Step by Step section is a guide to everything that happens from before you get solar quotes to the time when the panels are on your roof and you're getting ready to claim that sweet solar tax credit.

The Policy Information section contains all our latest research on the rules set by lawmakers and the Public Utilities Commission, which determine how easy it is to go solar in Missouri. These policies and rules govern everything from renewable energy mandates to interconnection, and have a huge effect on the viability of solar.

Finally, the Solar Incentives section includes information about money-back rebates and grants, tax credits, and tax exemptions for going solar in Missouri.

Click any of the boxes below to go to that section of the page, or scroll down to read the page in order.

Your Solar Strategy in Missouri

Figuring out the best way to go solar in Missouri can be a little daunting. From loans and leases to power-purchase agreements, there are a lot of options out there. To help you pick the one that might be best, we've created the handy decision tool below.

We'll ask you a few simple questions about you and your home. Once you're done, we'll recommend a good option. Further down this page, we provide cost estimates and example return-on-investment calculations for all the various options:

How should you pay for solar?

Use our decision tool to find out!

How to pay for solar panels in Missouri

The chart above shows the 25-year returns for an investment in solar whether you choose to purchase a system with cash or pay over time with a loan or Power-Purchase Agreement (PPA). As you can see, the purchase option leads to the highest dollar-amount returns over time, but look a little closer. Taking a solar loan or Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC—the orange bars) and paying for the system over time means you'll actually spend less of your own money over time, while reaping a big financial benefit in year 1.

That's because you take a loan for the system, but you still get a 30% federal tax credit based on the entire cost. You'll start out ahead, so your payments over 15 years will have less impact on you than plunking down a big pile of money up front. All you need is equity or great credit.

Lastly, take a look at the blue bars. They represent a solar Power-Purchase Agreement (PPA), which is also called third-party ownership. With a PPA, you put $0 down on a rooftop solar system and make monthly payments that are little bit less than what you had been paying the utility company or their dirty energy. You still accumulate savings, because the PPA cost will rise by less than the electric company's annual rate hikes. Third-party ownership is an excellent option if you don't have any equity or cash to put down, and it still saves you money!

Where we get our numbers

All these estimates are based on the average home in Missouri, which according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) needs just about 12,500 kilowatt-hours (kWh), and the homeowner (that's you!) has to pay approximately $1,375 for the pleasure of receiving that dirty energy from the utility company. To make enough electricity to offset that bill, the home would need a 10-kW solar system made up of thirty-one 325-watt panels, with an up-front cost of $26,500 after the state's rebates. Don't worry about that price, though—the rest of the availabel incentives and energy bill savings will take care of a big chunk of it after just 1 year!

Ready to learn more about paying for a home solar system in Missouri? Read on!

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Option 1: Paying cash for solar

An outright purchase used to be the only way to get solar, and it's still the option that provides the "biggest" financial returns. The reason we put "biggest" in quotes here is because it's technically true, but based on percent return for the money, a loan is a better option.

If you've got cash and you prefer to pay up front, you'll have to plunk down $26,500, but tax breaks and energy savings will erase a bunch of that after just 1 year. Over 25 years, your system will have produced more than $30,000 in income, after your system cost is paid back. The reason this works is that solar offsets your electricity costs—enough to save you about $1,375 in year 1, and it just goes up from there. As the electric company raises rates, you save more and more, and more...

Here’s how the numbers work for a 10-kW rooftop solar system in Missouri:

  • Installing a typical 10-kW solar system should start at about $26,500 after the 2019 Missouri solar rebates. That's cheaper than solar has ever been, but it still might seem like a big investment. Don’t worry, because after tax breaks and energy savings, your first-year costs will be considerably less than that.
  • The Federal government offers a great tax credit worth 30% of system costs after the rebate. So take 30% of $26,500, and you've got $7,950 you won't be paying to Uncle Sam next year. That brings your first-year investment down to $18,550.
  • After the tax credit we subtract your first year’s energy savings, which we estimate to be $1,375. That reduces your cost after the first year to only $17,175.
  • Those electricity savings will quickly make your money back, and your system will pay for itself in 11 years. That means free electricity until at least the end of your panels' 25-year warranty. We're talking $30,000 in savings over 25 years! The internal rate of return for this investment is not too shabby at 9%, but it likely isn't as good as if you just put the money into a mutual fund.
  • And here's a nice bonus to consider: your home's value just increased by more than $18,550, too (your expected cost after incentives).
  • In addition to all that cash (and home value), you’ve created some green for the earth as well by not using electricity from fossil fuels. It's like planting 208 trees a year, every year your solar power system is humming.
Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in Missouri. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar panel system, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

Option 2: Using a loan to pay for solar

You don't need $27,000 sitting around to pay for solar. As long as you have equity in your home, you can still own solar panels and reap all the benefits. Heck, even if you do have the cash, getting a loan to pay for solar is by far the best option when it comes to percentage return on investment.

That’s because, in Missouri, using a loan to pay for solar is like investing in a business that's sure to succeed, and also earns you a tax break. That's right: a HUGE tax break!. You'll come out thousands ahead this year, and you'll still see a handsome profit over the 25-year life of your system.

A solar purchase like this will make sense for you if the following is true about you and your current situation:

  • You can get a solar loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC) for $26,500, with a fixed rate of 4.5% or lower and a 15-year repayment period. Don't be put off if you're offered a higher rate. It just means a tiny bit less of the thousands of dollars you'll make with solar.
  • You love making money without much risk.

Here’s how the numbers pencil out for an Missouri homeowner who makes a solar purchase with a loan:

  • Installing a typical 10-kW solar system should start at about $26,500 after instant rebates. That's how big your loan will need to be to cover it.
  • The electricity you'll save in the first year of operation would have cost $1,375, but your annual loan payments will be $2,435, meaning you would spend $1,060 on solar this year, but...
  • You'll also see a huge tax break! The Feds give you 30% of the cost of your system back as an income tax credit, which in this case means $7,950. You'll be paying over time but getting the benefits up front!
  • All those incentives mean you'll come out $6,890 ahead after year 1. Your loan payments will be about $88/month more than your energy bill savings, but that difference will get smaller as the utility company raises rates every year.
  • By the time you've paid off your loan in 2033, you'll see yearly savings of over $2,000, and they'll keep getting larger as the utility raises rates. After 25 years, your total profit will be over $20,000!
  • On top of the green that will stay in your pocket, your system will mean green for the environment, too—208 trees-worth, every year!
Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in Missouri. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar loan, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

Option 3: Buying the electricity, not the panels with a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)

A PPA is a great way to go solar if you haven't got stacks of cash or oodles of equity in your home. With thrid-party solar like this, it's possible to get solar panels for $0-down and see big savings over 20 or 25 years!

As for PPAs in Missouri: the electricity costs here a little below the national average. That means a PPA doesn't save you much right away, but it will bank you about $250 this year, so you're able to save the planet and make a little cash doing it!

Now that might not sound like a huge amount of money right now, but as the utility company raises rates, you will start to see greater annual savings. Over 25 years, our estimate shows a total savings of about $9,250. The panels will be installed and maintained by professionals, and all you have to do is brag to the Joneses down the street about your green habits!

How a PPA saves you money

Unlike a loan or cash purchase, a PPA means you don't own the panels on your roof. Instead, the solar company fronts the money for the installation, claiming all the available government incentives for themselves. Then over a term of 20 years (plus a 5-year renewal, in our estimate), they sell you the electricity produced by the panels, starting out a little cheaper than the fossil-fuel energy you had been buying from the utility company. Of course you'll still be hooked in to the grid to ensure you have power both when the sun is shining and when it's not, but the excess energy produced by the panels offsets your whole electicity bill just like it would if you own the system.

If you can get a good initial rate and a low escalator clause (the amount the PPA price increases per year), a PPA can truly be a win-win-win; for you, the solar company, and the environment. Of course, if you have the cash, equity, or credit, a solar loan is the best option. But for those without those things, a Missouri solar PPA can be a great option.

Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in Missouri. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar PPA, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

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Is solar right for your Missouri home?

A beautiful home with solar panels

If you answer “yes” to each of the following questions, you’re probably a good candidate for solar.

  • Do you own your home?
  • Does your roof get direct sun for most of the day?
  • Does your electricity bill bother you (specifically how much you have to pay)?

The ideal home for solar has a south- or west-facing roof that gets little to no shade throughout the day. The roof can be covered with anything from asphalt shingles to clay or slate tiles, but the easiest roofs to work with are asphalt and standing-seam metal roofs.

Even if your home does not completely meet these conditions, you may still see huge savings from going solar. Your installer will take everything into account when providing you with a savings estimate.

We get more in-depth with roof shape, covering, and orientation in two useful articles:

The step-by-step process for going solar in Missouri

The most important thing to know about the entire process of going solar is that your solar installer is good at this stuff.

They'll make sure all the T's are crossed and the I's are dotted during the whole process:

Step 1: Getting and Comparing Quotes

There are now many slick solar estimate tools online. Some have you draw lines on your roof from satellite imagery to place your panels and explain your savings. Others pit solar companies against each other in an automated battle for your dollars. Others still track the sun over the course of the year to show you your electric production with the panels you just struggled to draw on your roof.

In our view, they're all a waste of time. If you're serious about installing panels, the best way to get an accurate view of your costs and savings is to get actual quotes instead of messing around with these online tools.

After all, you're not a solar PV designer, it's better to let an expert who knows what they're doing use their own fancy tools for you (believe us—they have fancy tools).

Also, nothing beats a human connection from a trusted source. We've been forging relationships with strong partners and installers since 2007. They know what they're doing, and they're good people.

When you complete our form, we'll connect you with them. You’ll quickly get an accurate reflection of how much electricity your roof can make, how much your system will cost, and how long it will take before you see a profit. In Missouri, with a loan or PPA, you'll be in the green immediately.

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What you should look for in a solar installer

Solar customers with a contractor looking at contract

If you seek solar quotes directly from providers without our help, be sure to judge them by the following criteria. All partners in our network are:

  • Trained and Skilled - The standard for solar installers is certification by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP for short). That means they’ve undergone training and passed tests that ensure they know what they’re doing.
  • Experienced - How many solar systems has the company installed? A minimum of 10 is a good number to shoot for, unless you know they company well. Of course, choosing Tesla or Sunrun means you’re with a company that has installed thousands of systems, but their process can seem less personal, and their prices are often higher than smaller companies.
  • Well-regarded - Look at reviews of solar providers on Yelp and Google and other review sites. Or simply ask the salesperson to speak with one of the company’s former clients. Solar owners generally love talking about their systems, and you can benefit from their experience.
  • Licensed, bonded, and insured - Make sure the installation crew includes a licensed electrician, because if not, that can be a surprise charge to get the system hooked up.And of course, the company you’re going with has to be bonded and insured in case they do any damage to your home.

The solar quote process

Your first contact with one of our solar providers will be over the phone. They’ll take a look at a satellite photo of your roof and verify some simple details about you and your home. Many will be able to provide you a complete estimate without coming to your house. If you prefer, you can review your estimate in person.

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Information included in solar quotes

A sample solar quote

Your quote will include information about how many panels will be used, how much electricity they can produce, your expected savings over time, and more.

  • System size - System size isn't just about the square footage the panels will occupy on your roof. In the solar industry, size refers to the number of watts your system can produce in full sun. The average solar panel puts out 250 watts at a time, so your installer would call a system of 20 panels a "5-kW system."
  • Energy production - Your solar panels' energy production is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), just like your electricity usage is measured by your utility company. The quote will include an estimate of the average kWh your system will produce per year, and might even show you how the seasons affect expected production by month.
  • Cost and incentives - Solar system prices are quoted as "total cost" and "dollars per watt." For example, a 5-kW system that costs $15,500 has a $3.10 cost per watt. These are the first figures to compare what you’re being offered. The installer should also show you the available incentives that being the net cost of the installation down. Everyone is eligible for the federal solar tax credit of 30% of the system's cost, but there may be local incentives available, as well.

    Note: if you're considering a PPA, you won't be eligible for incentives, and the cost section will include your expected costs per kWh.

  • Equipment - Not all solar panels are created equal, but nearly all the panels used by reputable installers should be able to reliably make electricity for the next 25 years. The options are numerous, and your installer should be able to provide you quotes for a few different kinds. For example, if having panels made in the USA is important to you, your installer should be able to offer you a quote for a system using panels from the USA and panels made elsewhere.
  • Warranties - A solar system has multiple warranties that cover the panels, the inverter, and the installer’s work on your roof. What can change between quotes is the length of the warranties and what they cover. Read our full post on solar warranties and what they cover.

Deciding which solar quote is the best

Now for the easy part: choosing which solar company has the best offer. If one installer offers a lower cost per watt using great equipment, they might be the best choice. Just keep in mind that important considerations other than price set solar companies apart.

Larger installers are all about full service and efficiency, making the process of going solar fast and streamlined. They all offer in-house financing options and multiple ways to pay, and they might also throw in bonuses like free monitoring equipment and long-term warranties.

Smaller installers don’t have the overhead of national solar companies, so they can compete more on price. You might even develop a meaningful relationship with a member of your community who has been doing this for a while, and if something goes wrong with your system, it might feel better to pick up the phone to call them rather than an 800 number tied to a high-volume call center. Just keep an eye on their financing offerings. Third-party lenders for solar financing sometimes include finance charges or higher interest that can mean you save less in the long run.

For more of our guidance on choosing an installer, check out these useful articles:

Step 2: Financing your system

Pile of cash

If you plan to pay up front, this step is easy. Just get your checkbook out and make it happen, high-roller! But if you’re interested in a loan or PPA, it’s time to explore options.

Many installers will offer you financing at this point. Compare their offer to the other options you have. If they offer third-party financing, it might be time to explore a HELOC with your bank before you sign their financing arrangement.

We discussed the options in the section on loans above, but here’s a quick refresher:

  • Home Equity - Probably the best way to pay for solar, because you control it, the rates are lower, and you can repay it in a more flexible way.
  • Solar loans - Most installers will offer some kind of The big guys like Sunrun, Vivint and Tesla/Solarcity have their own loans they can offer you, but most mid-sized installers work with a 3rd-party solar loan provider like Mosaic. These loans are usually structured with the solar tax credit as a balloon payment after 1 year, and the balance of the system cost as a long-term loan at 5%-7% interest.
  • PACE loans - Property-Assessed Clean Energy financing is good for people who don’t have amazing credit or tons of equity, but who plan to live in their home for years to come and don’t mind slightly higher interest rates. The loan is repaid through your property tax bill, the interest is often tax-deductible, and repayment can be spread across as many as 25 years.
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Don't forget about PPAs

If you don’t mind giving up a little control and letting your solar company own the panels, choose a PPA instead. These are only available through an installer, since they’ll be the ones who own the system.

Again, a PPA is best if you don’t have enough income to take advantage of the 30% federal solar tax credit, but it can work for anybody. It’s generally simpler than owning your own system. You just sign on the dotted line and start getting lower cost electricity from your solar company.

Step 3: Signing a contract, and what happens after

hands signing a contract

So, you’ve settled on a solar installer, and lined up the funding to pay for your shiny new panels! After you sign on the dotted line, it’s time for the pros to begin their work!

Site Inspections

First up, you’ll be seeing a few folks out for site inspections. There will be a master electrician out to look at your main circuit panel and wiring, a solar contractor to do a detailed analysis of your roof and determine the best placement for the panels, and a roofing contractor to examine the structural integrity of your roof.

Design and permitting

Following the inspections, the system designer will get to work on a digital design for your system. Your solar company will finalize the design and components, and give you a final price for approval. Once you’ve authorized the final design, your solar installer will finalize the documents and submit them to your locality for permitting.

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Step 4: Installation, Inspection & Interconnection

Two workers install solar panels on a roof

Missouri is a mature solar market and most installers have their procedures down pat. Installation, which used to take several days, now usually takes between 4 and 8 hours. Unless your roof is complicated or your electrical systems need updating, your crew should arrive, perform their duties, and be done within one day.

Installation day

Your installer will have already completed their site surveys and the workers on the truck will know exactly what they're installing and where. The crew will arrive at your home, set up their gear and get to work on your roof.

The first thing they'll do is mark off all the places the solar panel mounts will be placed, then attach those mounts to your roof. If you'd like to know more about the big metal bolts that will be screwed into your rafters, check out an article on how solar panels are attached to your roof.

The crew will then install the racks and panels, making connections that either wire the panels together in strings, or bring the wires from the micro-inverters together. If the crew includes a master electrician, that person will make the final connections between the panel, inverter, and your main AC panel (you may have to wait a day or two for the master electrician to finish the wiring).

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What the heck are micro-inverters?

Traditionally, solar panels are wired in a series and connected to a single inverter box, which converts the electricity from DC to AC so it can be used in your home. Those large inverters work great for most people, but tend to make the system overall a tiny bit less efficient. Also, if a shadow or cloud passes over and blocks sunlight to some of your panels, the whole system suffers.

Micro-inverters, on the other hand, are attached to the back of every panel, which ensures that the maximum energy output of each panel reaches your home wiring. They cost a little more, but for a house with a partially-shaded roof, they can pay for themselves quickly.

Here's an infographic showing how the two types of inverters differ:

A string of solar panels with one shaded produces only half its rated power With micro-inverters, one shaded panel doesn't affect the whole bunch, allowing more electricity to get to the meter

Inspection and Interconnection

After your system is installed, it needs to be connected to the grid, and for that, you’ll need to have it inspected. Your installer will line all this up for you, too, and it may take between a couple days and a couple weeks to get the final inspections scheduled and completed.

An inspector examines and electrical box

Your city may require an inspection from the fire department, but the most important inspection will come from the utility company, who will send out someone to examine your system’s components and wiring and install the new electric meter that will record your solar kWhs.

At this point, you might even get a chance to turn the system on yourself!

Step 5: Operation, Maintenance, and claiming your tax credit

A squeegee cleaning solar panels

So you’ve got a shiny new solar system installed and it’s working. Now what? To be honest, not much. Solar panels are the platonic ideal of a Ron Popeil creation: set it and forget it. Still, you might find yourself compulsively checking your monitoring software to ensure those panels are working as promised.

After the deep breath of fresh air that comes with seeing your new electric bills, you'll relax into a state of solar bliss. During other moments, you'll smile as you think of all the acreage of forest you basically just planted using only the few hundred square feet of your roof.

There are a few important things to know after your panels are installed:

How to maintain your solar panels

Maintaining solar panels is a breeze. Solar panels are designed to handle rain, wind, snow, hail, and whatever nature throws at them for 25 years or more. All the maintenance a solar panel system needs is a yearly rinse and squeegee to take off extra dust and grime; maybe 2 or three times yearly if you live in a very dusty place. You can get by with a hose, if you need to.

If you own the system, either with a loan or having paid cash, you can expect to do (or contract out) the work yourself. If you have a solar PPA contract, this annual or semi-annual cleaning may be included as part of your agreement, or you may have the responsibility to do any cleaning yourself. Be sure to look for this information as part of a PPA offer.

How to tell if your solar components are working

Other than cleaning, you may someday experience the failure of one or more components. Right off the bat, you should be able to see whether your panels are delivering energy on the panel of your inverter or net meter.

Read the user manual of your inverter to find out how to access the proper information, but most inverters will have a real-time production number on an LCD readout right on the front.

If you have a system with a central inverter, you will likely need to replace it after 10-15 years. If, instead, you have micro-inverters attached to each panel, they should last for the life of your system, and if not, they’re usually covered by 25-year warranties.

A micro-inverter attached to the underside of a solar module

Micro-inverters, like the one shown above, coupled with monitoring software can make it easier to tell when a panel isn't producing enough energy

Your installer may also have included monitoring software as part of your installation, either on a screen attached to your system or on the web. The monitoring software will tell you if the system is functioning properly, and, if you have micro-inverters on each of your panels, can even tell you if any panels are not working as they should.

If you discover that one or more of your panels isn’t working, it’ll be time to file a warranty claim.

What to do if your panels stop working

If you’ve done a good job by choosing one of our installer partners, you’ve got warranties that cover the installation (e.g., watertightness of roof penetrations and structural integrity of your roof), the panels (manufacturing defects) and the energy (production guarantee).

Your first step is to figure out who to contact. If you have a PPA contract, that step is simple: call your installer or contact them via their customer portal. That might also be the case if you sign up for a solar loan from a big installer. Oftentimes, the loan comes with a similar kind of protection.

a cracked solar panel

This isn't supposed to happen, so if it does, know who to call.

If, however, you went with a different installer, perhaps sourced through a different website, you’re probably stuck looking through the paperwork you got with the system to find the manufacturers of your panels, inverter, or other components.

How to claim the federal tax credit for solar

Claiming the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC, for short) is easy, just have your personal assistant fax all the necessary paperwork to your accountant in the Caymans, and wait for your huge refund.

A fanned-out stack of a few 1040 tax forms

Oh wait, you don't have millions in an offshore account? Then we've got the necessary info for you. The ITC is claimed by filling out a special schedule, Form 5695, and entering the credit amount from that into your 1040 form.

For your edification and convenience, we've prepared a step-by-step guide to claiming the solar tax credit.

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Missouri Solar Policy Information

Ever wonder why solar seems to be everywhere in some states, but not in others? We did too.

State legislatures and public utilities commissions can enact rules to make solar power accessible for everyone. Favorable rules explain why some of the cloudiest states—New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, are doing so well with solar, and yet some of those with the most natural solar resources—like Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia—are doing so poorly.

Below is important information about the public policy, rules, and economic reasons that affect your ability to go solar here in Missouri:


15% by 2021

Grade: C

Missouri's Renewable Portfolio Standard grade

A Renewables Portfolio Standard (“RPS”) is a law that basically says a certain percentage of a state’s energy production must come from renewable sources by a target date. Many states have passed such standards, with goals as high as 30%, even 40% renewable production in the not-so-distant future.

Missouri has an adequate but not spectacular RPS, mandating 15% renewable energy by 2021. The renewable energy target will be phased in via intermediate goals slowly over time, until arriving at the 15% total by the end of 2021.

Missouri’s RPS is critical to strong renewable energy policy. Utility companies aren't really all that gung-ho about you producing your own power. After all, it costs them money when you use less of their electricity. They also don’t naturally want to give you big payments for energy you're feeding back into the grid. The main reason the utilities are aiding your transition to lower electric bills and offering you incentives to put solar on your roof is because the state forces them to. If they don't hit their RPS numbers, they have to pay large fees back to the state.

What's an RPS? Your state legislature paves the way for strong solar energy incentives to flourish by setting standards for renewable energy generation within their territories. Those standards are called the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS). If utility companies do not meet these standards, they must pay alternative compliance fees directly to the state. Many utilities then determine the best ways to source their energy from renewable sources that are less expensive than this fee.

An RPS is a mandate that says "Hey utilities! Y'all now have to make a certain percentage of your electricity from renewable sources. If not, you'll have to pay us huge fines." The consequences are good, because utilities usually try to meet these RPS standards by creating solar power incentives for you, the homeowner. Read more about Renewable Portfolio Standards.

RPS solar carve out

.3% by 2021

Grade: C

Missouri's Solar Carve-out grade

A solar carve out means that, of the total amount of energy that must come from renewable power, a certain percentage must come from solar panels. Missouri has a solar carve out, albeit a tiny one, of 2% of the RPS (which means only 0.3% of all electricity generated in the state. That’s not very high, and it doesn’t set the bar very high for electric utilities, giving them little incentive to help homeowners install solar panels. Considering the original RPS in Missouri was brought into being by the voters in 2008 through Proposition C, it may be time to push for a new ballot initiative, something that didn’t happen back in 2012.

What's a solar set aside? A solar set aside guarantees a specific portion of the overall renewable energy mix generated comes from the sun. For those states with progressive standards, high alternative compliance payments, and clear solar carve outs, the faster those areas become ripe for solar.

Some states have higher alternative compliance fees than others, and some states have more progressive alternative energy standards and deadlines than others do.

For instance, New Jersey has an overall RPS of 22.5% by the year 2021. That requires local utilities to source 22.5% of their energy mix from renewable sources by the year 2021. Pretty good. However, New Jersey also has a specific solar set aside of 4.1% by 2028. That’s the type of firm commitment which really gets the industry rolling forward. No wonder why New Jersey is one of the hottest solar markets right now!

Missouri Electricity Prices


Grade: D

Missouri's Electricity cost grade

Missourians pay an average of 11 cents per kilowatt-hour (“kWh”) of electricity; just under 3 cents cheaper than the national average. Cheap, but not as cheap is it used to be. Higher electricity prices mean you’re probably already feeling a little strain in your pocketbook. Just don’t forget why electricity is so cheap.

That’s right, fossil fuels. Lots and lots of fossil fuels. Whatever your opinion of the environmental impacts of fossil fuels, one thing is certain: the financial cost of using them is only going up, up, up for the future. When that happens you’re going to be really happy you switched early to all that efficient, clean solar power that will be in high demand.

In the meantime, solar power will still save you a chunk of change here. We’ll go over just how much in a minute.

Why are electricity prices so important? Because that is what solar power is directly competing against. The cost to produce power with solar is relatively constant (of course how much sun hits your area has an effect), so if you are paying $0.40 per watt for power, then you make FOUR TIMES AS MUCH as the guy or girl paying $0.10 per watt electricity.

The caveat here is that if the $0.10 per watt person has a HUGE rebate, they may be better off than the $0.40 per watt person. Because of that, states without any renewable standards tend to be heavily reliant on cheap coal for electricity, and also have very low electricity prices. When electricity prices are artificially low, that hinders the ability of solar energy to achieve meaningful payback in the state.

Missouri Net Metering


Grade: B

Missouri's Net Metering grade

Net Metering requires your utility to monitor how much energy your solar power system produces and how much energy you actually consume, and make sure you get credit for the surplus.

Missouri requires all utilities to offer net metering to customers with solar power systems up to 100kW. Net excess generation is credited to your next bill at a minimum of the utility’s avoided cost rate.

Now, "avoided cost rate" is short for "how much it would have cost us to burn more coal and make electricity at one of our plants," and as you may guess, it's pretty cheap. Like, you pay $.12/kWh for electricity from them, but they'll only pay you $.03/kWh for excess that yo send back to the grid. That's why it's imperative that you size your system so you don't produce more electricity than you use. Talk to an installer near you to determine the best system size for your home.

We’d like to see the law amended to ensure that you get credit for your net excess generation, even if you run a surplus every month. And right now, all credit not used after 12 months reverts back to the utility without compensation. We think the utility should cut you a check for all that surplus instead.

What is net metering? Net metering is the billing arrangement where you can sell excess electricity back to your utility for equal the amount you are charged to consume it. The more customer friendly net metering policies, the higher the grade.

The grade here specifically reflects individual solar system capacity, caps on program capacity limits, restrictions on “rollover” of kWh from one month to the next (yep just like cell phone minutes), metering issues (like charges for new meters), Renewable Energy Credit (REC) ownership, eligible customers and technology (the more renewables the better), being able to aggregate meters across the property for net metering, and safe harbor provisions to protect customers from solar tariff changes.

Missouri Interconnection Rules


Grade: F

Missouri's Interconnection Standards grade

Interconnection in Missouri falls into the same solid but not spectacular range. You shouldn’t have any trouble getting on the grid due to circuit capacity limits – the most important first step. Also of note, all systems under 10kW (e.g., almost all residential systems) are exempt from any additional insurance requirements. Unfortunately you may still be required, at the utility’s discretion, to install a redundant external disconnect switch. We’d also like to see the 100kW system size limitation removed to allow commercial and industrial customers meet all on-site generation needs, but that doesn’t affect you and your residential system at all.

Interconnection rules are a little technical, but they basically allow you to “plug in” to the electric grid with solar panels on your roof. The more complex, out of date, or nonsensical the state rules are for plugging into the grid, the lower the grade.

Specifically, the grade reflects what technologies are eligible, individual system capacity, removing interconnection process complexity for smaller systems, interconnection timelines and charges, engineering charges, prohibiting the requirement of unnecessary external disconnects, certification, spot interconnection vs. wide area interconnection, technical screens, friendliness of legalese, insurance requirements, dispute resolution, and rule coverage.

Solar Incentives in Missouri

Next to high electricity prices and net metering, solar incentives have traditionally been the most important factor for whether home solar power makes financial sense in a state. In the past, some states with otherwise lousy policy had tremendous incentives that drove down the up-front cost of going solar so much that homeowners could save oodles of money even without net metering or a good RPS.

These days, the big incentive most people can get is the Federal Solar Tax Credit that earns you 30% of your costs back after just 1 year. State incentives play less of a role than in the past, but some really good ones are still out there, ready to help homeowners go solar and save money before you know it.

Let's see how Missouri measures up:

Missouri Solar Power Rebates

Many utilities offer

Grade: A

Missouri's Solar Rebates grade

Missouri has what basically amounts to a statewide rebate program for solar installations, becauase several of the state's largest electric utility companies offer rebates for their customers. Here's what's available for homeowners in Missouri:

Utility Amount Notes
Ameren $500/kW, probably Program appilications begin 11/1/18
Columbia Water & Light $500/kW, up to $5,000, then $400/kW up to 100kW (far larger than home systems) Must meet warranty and certification requirements.
Empire District Electric $500/kW in 2016-2018 Must meet warranty and siting requirements
Kansas City Power & Light $500/kW in 2016-2018 Must meet warranty and certification requirements; funds nearly exhausted

How do solar rebates work? Similar to getting a rebate card from your local big box store for a dishwasher purchase, state legislatures also provide rebates for solar panel purchases to spur on investment and create new jobs. If you purchase the solar panel system yourself, you qualify for this free cash, which many times is a lump payment back to you. Some solar installers like to take this amount directly off the total installed price, and they'll handle the paperwork for you to make things a lot less complex.

The availability of state and utility rebates were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. The better the rebates, the higher the grade.

Missouri Solar Power Tax Credits


Grade: F

Missouri's Solar Tax Credits grade

Missouri does not offer any tax credits for solar power. Overall the statewide picture is pretty weak so far as solar incentives go. A tax credit would be an easy way to make solar cheaper for you without actually removing any money from the state’s coffers.

However, you can still take advantage of the 30% federal solar tax credit (more on that in the 5kw example below).

About state solar tax credits: State tax credits are not technically free money. However, they are 'credits' and not 'deductions' which means that if you have the tax appetite to take advantage of them, then they can be a 1-to-1 dollar amount off your taxes instead of a fraction of the cost of the system. So that means they can be an important factor to consider. In certain circumstances, state tax credits can provide a very powerful incentive for people to go solar.

(Keep in mind, we are not tax professionals and give no tax advice so please consult a professional before acting on anything we say related to taxes)

The availability of personal tax credits for solar energy were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. The higher the tax credit amount, the higher the grade.

Solar Power Performance Payments


Grade: F

Missouri's Solar Performance Payments grade

A solar power performance payment is essentially a bonus paid to homeowners with solar panels connected to the grid at a rate slightly above the going rate for electricity. Ameren used to offer such a program, through which it purchased the Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) that homeowners accrued based on their system’s performance. Sadly, that program has ended, and now Missouri has no performance payment agreement. The good news is your system’s performance still gets you SRECs, which you can sell if and when there is a better economic climate for them.

Explanation of performance payments: Performance payments represent a big chunk of the financial rationale for going solar, and in many instances they make your decision a wise one. For certain states, if you’ve got solar panels on your roof, not only will you be cutting your electric bill down to size, but you'll be getting paid additional cash from your utility company. Pretty awesome, huh? Not only are you generating electricity for yourself, freezing your own popsicles with sun, and feeling like you’re doing something smart for your children or any of the other 4 reasons people go solar, but you are getting PAID!

Utility companies are paying people with solar panels on their roofs because their states say they have to, otherwise they will pay a fee. Therefore, the payment amount to homeowners is typically a little bit less than the amount they would be billed for by the state. For states with these alternative compliance fees, Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) exchanges have popped up. In the above chart, we outlined an estimate of yearly payments a homeowner might expect from the utility company for the SREC credits from their solar energy system.

Expected SREC payments were calculated by using the latest trade values in the SRECtrade database. The availability of feed-in tariffs were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. The higher the expected monthly payments, the higher the grade.

We've got a great article if you like to read more about what SRECs are and how to earn them.

Property Tax Exemption


Grade: A

Missouri's Solar Property Tax Exemptions grade

A solar panel installation on your home adds value to it. We’re talking thousands of dollars of value, based on all that electricity you won’t be paying for in the next few decades. Luckily, Missouri realizes that a good way to encourage homeowners to go solar is to exempt all that additional value from property taxes. That’s right, you will not pay a dime in taxes on all that added value!

About solar property tax exemptions: Property tax exemption status is a pretty big factor when putting together your investment considerations. Some argue that solar power adds approximately 20 times your annual electricity bill savings (if you are owning the system and not leasing). Other studies seem to indicate a home price premium about equal to the cost of installing the system, minus any incentives like the federal solar tax credit.

For many average-sized solar power systems on a house, that can mean adding $20,000 to your home value. And if you don't believe us, believe the bean counters: Many banks and solar financing companies now offer traditional style equity-based home loans for installing solar. An additional $20,000 in property tax basis in many states amounts to a big chunk of change owed back to the state. However, many states have complete exemptions from added taxes when you install solar on your home!

The availability of a property tax exemption for solar energy was sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. Grades in this category are basically all-or-nothing. Either you got it or you don't. Thankfully, many states have "got it.".

Sales Tax Exemption


Grade: F

Missouri's Solar Sales Tax Exemption grade

Unfortunately, Missouri is not up to par on the other side of the tax-burden coin. One of the simplest ways for the Missouri state legislature to encourage small scale clean energy adoption is to declare solar panel equipment exempt from state sales taxes as many other progressive states have done. Sadly, there is no such declaration and will have to pay sales tax on the installation of solar panels for your home.

What's the deal with solar power sales tax exemptions? When states give you a sales tax break on solar, we notice. You should too. State sales tax exemption status for the purchase of solar energy systems were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. Sales tax exemptions, if present, were all 100%. A handful of states are completely exempt from sales tax regardless, and therefore received ‘A’ grades by default (OR, DE, MT, AK, and NH).

The final word on Missouri home solar rebates and incentives:

In 2019, Missourians can cash in on big utility-backed solar power rebates, saving thousands up-front and reducing payback time to just 11 years. The state still gets a “C” for policy, because we’d like to see a better RPS with solar carve-out, as well as a sales tax exemption.

Still, with solar prices lower than ever and the federal tax credit being reduced over the next few years, now is an excellent time for home solar in Missouri.

62 thoughts on “2019 Guide to Missouri Home Solar Incentives, Rebates, and Tax Credits

  1. Russ says:

    Look into Missouri HR Bill 340. If passed it will make owning solar panels a lot more expensive and increase the payback time. Probably lower the Missouri grade from D to F.

  2. Patrick Khosravani says:

    I would add that the life-expectancy of a solar system is well over 30-years, with your inverter(s) needing replacement at year 15, that’s usually $1,200 to $3,000 depending on the size. These days, all solar panel manufacturers set their performance warranties at 80% @ 25-years. So when year 25 comes, output should be at 80% of what it was when the solar panel was brand-new! I would also add that putting your money into solar system is the best form of passive income, it’s tax-free income, and once your pay-back is reached, all energy produced is 100% free – thank you Sun! Oh, and don’t forget that actually solar pays for itself on day 1 just in the value it adds to your home/property, tax-exempt value adder, so property taxes don’t increase! We at Sovereign Solar sell, design, and install home or commercial solar systems throughout the state of Missouri and Kansas. You can pay for your entire system upfront, or you can choose to finance it with a loan, we offer special solar loans. We usually end up elminating, or significantly reducing, our customers’ electric bill and replace it with a solar loan. That new solar loan plus your new electric bill – combined – is now lower than your old bill. We being saving folks money on from the moment they sign with us. Let’s not forget the 30% Federatl ITC. Next time you pay your annoying electric bill, think about us! We are Sovereign Solar, headquartered in Kansas City, MO (816) 920-0745. Website: or check us out on Facebook: Thanks for the shameless self-promotion, Solar Power Rocks!

  3. Patrick Khosravani says:

    Solar Power Rocks, an excellent article. The example 5 kW system priced at $20,000 used throughout this article to model the investment returns is on the higher side of the scale. 5 kW (or 5,000w) divided by $20k is $4.00 per watt. We’ve run into installers offering home solar systems at $3.50 per watt, even $3.25 per watt. My company, Sovereign Solar, offers systems below $3.00 per watt, and that’s using the best solar panels and equipment: LG, SolarWorld, Kyocera, SMA, SolarEdge, Fronius.

  4. Chris says:

    “Net excess generation is credited to your next bill at a minimum of the utility’s avoided cost rate. That’s pretty solid.” This is overstating it. For any excess generation, you are paid $0.0277 per kWh while anything one consumes is charged at the rate of $0.12-$0.13 per kWh. My understanding is that this “credit”, which it really isn’t, is one of the worst in the country. This should not be painted in a positive light. It is criminal.

    1. Ben Zientara says:

      Thanks, Chris.

      We agree that it isn’t “pretty solid,” as we stated above. We’ve amended the paragraph to reflect that. The best states recognize that renewables, including solar, have a value greater than the avoided cost or even wholesale electricity rates, and ensure generators get paid full retail rates for the electricity they don’t use. We’re hopeful that there will someday be a national standard for net metering that provides for a fair “value of solar” assessment and requires utilities to pay a rate for excess solar generation that is commensurate with the benefits distributed generation provides for the grid.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Of course Missourians can lease. Residents, nonprofits, whomever. Also, there is still rebate money available as of today from KCPL. Contact Solar Rich Power and we’ll make it happen!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    The Rebates in Ameren are all gone now. You may want to update this page.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Eric Kjelshus Energy has been installing solar panels and converting homes and buildings to solar energy in Kansas City, MO for over 30 years.

  8. Anonymous says:

    How about some info covering KCPL in Kansas City?

  9. Anonymous says:

    we want a good deal on a standard roof. It is the end of December and if it is too late to ride in on rebates, what is the point?

    1. dllorens says:

      Hey there – where do you live? December likely does not end rebates for you but would need to know your location

  10. Shayla says:

    I read this piece of writing completely regarding the difference of most up-to-date and preceding technologies, it’s amazing article.

    my site: skincare products (Shayla)

  11. G. Michael Murphy says:

    Ameren Missouri now only paying $5 per SREC in 2013. They paid me $50/SREC in 2012.

  12. Kauffler Solar says:

    Great stuff and great page! If anyone is interested in a free solar panel system for your home or business – see us at

  13. Frank says:

    I”m an Electrician in St. Louis City and County, Jefferson and St Charles County. As it is now, looking at the prices of solar panels and equipment we are under $4 a watt and in some cases under $3 a Watt for a complete. wright now we can setup a lease that would have the home owner in the payed back with in two years and getting xxxx amount per month off there Ameren bill depending the size system

    1. Ernie Hillsman says:

      A&E Solar Systems in the KCPL area can offer a complete system for $3.00 a watt. So your out of pocket is $25,000 – 30% tax credit = $17,500. Take a typical & $200 a month savings and now your payout is about 7 years.
      A&E Solar Systems 816 616 6931

  14. Anonymous says:

    here is a company in STL doing just that. good luck.. i too have the same idea. shouldnt be long.. ;)

  15. Debbie says:

    Better update that price from 9.27 cents per kilowatt-hour to more like 11.36!! And when Ameren gets the ok to raise rates again next month, it’ll go up even more. And they’ve already said they’re asking yet again when this increase gets approved. *sigh*

  16. Bryan Hornsby says:

    KCP&L now has $2/watt rebate for Kansas City customers…think this should be updated!

  17. Gerry says:

    Energy conservation with solar panels on the roof equal money in the bank.

    In 1984 my wife and I built a 1900 square foot home in surburban (Sappington) St.Louis. We had purchased the lot two years previous and had spent the intervening months planning. We had survived the energy crisis of the 70’s and planned a super-insulated house with solar potential. The house was built with a south facing front which we planned to utilize for solar power. Unfortunately in the 1980s the cost of solar electric panels for the house would have exceeded $50,000 with no incentives and questionable tax credits. Rather than that type of investment we learned how to minimize our energy use.

    The construction is of highly insulated SIP (structural insulated panels) which we learned about a the St Louis Builder’s and Home Show. The panels are of 4′ x 8′ x 6” which are made up of 3/8” wafer board sheets with 6” of foam insulation between. The wall insulation is rated at R-25 and we have R-38 attic insulation. The panels were advertised to save approximately 50% of heating and cooling costs. There was a slight premium to build using these panels but we looked at the energy savings to pay this back within 7 to 10 years. Since the construction was so efficient we enjoyed energy bills which were approximately one half of those of our neighbors. The house was so efficient that Union Electric (now Ameren) examined their meter during the first summer because our electric usage was so much lower than surrounding homes.

    We installed a instant natural gas water heater that made hot water on demand with no storage.
    The only noticeable “solar” treatment was the 18′ glassed front porch which provides passive heat during the winter to the house. With this feature we were able to take advantage of a $5,000.00 solar tax credit offered by the IRS.

    We have used flourescent tube lighting and CFL (compact fluorescent lights) bulbs throughout the house and worked hard to minimized our energy costs. The basement was finished with R-19 insulated walls and an old water heater tank was adapted as a preheater for the demand water heater. A preheater tank allows the cold water entering the house (approximately 45 to 50 degrees during the winter to reach 65 degrees before being heated for use). I am planning to add a solar water next year. Last year we took advantage of the Laclede Gas and IRS incentives and replaced our HVAC system with a 95% efficient furnace and a 14 SEER air conditioner. Our already low total energy costs dropped to $105.00 per month.

    During the past winter I began investigating the possibility of adding Photovoltaic panels to our home and discovered the following:
    St Louis receives 92% of the solar energy potential as Miami .
    Each 1 kWh produced from solar there is saving of burning approximately one pound of coal and it’s associated pollution.
    The life of a PV systems is at least 30 years with almost no maintenance.
    For every annual $1 savings of electricity that is offset with solar adds approximately $20 to you homes value.
    Ameren offers significant incentives for solar electric systems (almost 50%).
    The federal government offers (until 2016) a 30% tax credit that would also apply to this installation.

    Wishing gave way to planning and that to installation. On July 18 of this year, during the 100 degree heat of the summer, we became electric producers. A 4.1 KW system was installed using 18 panels installed on the south facing slope to the roof. The installation was completed in only 3 days, 60 days after applying for permits and Ameren approval. The initial cost of the system was approximately $24,000.00 but within 60 days we received two checks from Ameren totaling $13,500.00 and after the solar tax credit is taken on our 2011 tax return the cost of my system with be less than $6,000.00.
    Since the installation, and not changing the thermostat setting, our electric bills have averaged $6.00 per month. I know that we will never achive a net 0 in energy costs but when considering that the average homeowner in St Louis spends over $2,000 a year for electricity our estimated annual cost will be under $150.00.

    We chose this type of investment for a variety of reasons, the first was the potential for huge cost saving for the next 30 years, along with the reduction of greenhouse gassses associated with the production of our electricity. We had prepared for the addition of solar power for our house by minimizing our electric use. By minimizing our energy demand we were able to reduce our photvoltalic system size. At the present Ameren rates, the system will pay for itself in less than 10 years and with any rate increases that time will shorten. Where else can you get a 7% rate of return on very safe investment. Not at the paltry rates paid by banks. Possibly better rates in the stock market, but is that safe? Not with a hybrid car that costs $25,000.00 with a small credit, depreciation, and will require eventual battery replacement.

    We took the economically and environmentally sensible approach. We went solar and love it.

    There are many solar companies operating in the St Louis area and a quick internet search will offer you many choices. Learn how to reduce you electric power use, (visit “”) get your estimates, check with the BBB and join the solar powered life.

  18. Kenn Drescher says:

    Just finished the above mentioned Solar Energy Systems Training given by ONtility instructor: Tim Coats. 1 week, and 40 hours of intense, but not “tense” education in PV Solar residential, & commercial applications. At GrayBar, St Louis. Course included a 6 panel install on a ground placed shingled roof at = 102 F!
    Course titled: NABCEP Entry-Level Solar Electric Systems, might be a bit misleading. I started at the entry level, and now ave a much more sophisticated understanding of PV Systems than many commercial building maintaince managers whom thought they have it all figured out.
    Am available, and actively seeking employment in the St Louis Metro Solar Industry. Appreciate your consideration. PS: Mr. Coats was a very fine Instructor!

  19. Sue says:

    I see some have commented that they would like to get involved directly in the solar industry and don’t know where to start. I found solar training that is coming to Missouri next week (July 18-22, 2011). Information can be found here:

    I noticed there are also scholarships for displaced construction workers.

  20. Kent says:

    It is the cost that keeps me from installing. I could remodel my house for what installers want ($60k at this time) and have it more efficient as a matter of guess work, I could probably have my house 50% more efficient with $20 of investment. No need to go solar until the manufacturers and sellers get reasonable, 5 year 100% warranty parts and labor and a 5 year RIO is reasonable.

  21. Gerard Nordskoven says:

    Jesus Christ help us! Dead leaves and wood composting on the ground (slow oxidation) produce the same amount of CO2 as a tree burning (fast oxidation) in the wood-burning stove. Harness it.

  22. Pat says:

    Very interested in building and installing a solar/wind grid tied battery back-up system. Is there any state or federal exp. DOE papers or guides. Sevral books solar or wind combining not so much. Also any local suppliers of inverters etc.

  23. James R. Wattler says:

    Hellow Everybody this is James Wattler of Eureka. Several individuals including myself are trying to turn our campus St. Louis Communtiy College into a green campus. We are working on several possibilities. If anyone has some ideas that I can bring up to the Disctrict Green Committee that would be greatly appreciated. Shoot me an e-mail at [email protected]
    *companies in the area that are cheap
    *grants we could get
    *tax information
    *price on panels
    *savings facts

  24. Marie says:

    Over time, *every* technology has become cheaper – except solar energy. Look at the prices of televisions, VCRs, DVD players, home computers, etc. In the beginning, only the “rich” could afford the new toys, but competition brought the price down fast.

    With gov’t subsidies, the companies have no incentive to bring the prices down. They can still get tens of thousands of dollars in profits in places where the gov’t is willing to foot the bill.

    If we kill *all* gov’t subsidies, companies will become more efficient and drop their prices in order to survive. Kill the subsidies, then wait about four or five years. Solar will be affordable for everyone.

  25. Kenneth N. Amend says:

    I myself was raised in South Florida, though after the Navy decided to relocate as my parents did here in Jefferson City,Mo.I have worked in the roofing industry for roughly 12 years. Though solar has gotten my attention.Would LOVE to learn more…though given excess energy back to the power company is a slap in the FACE..especially after getting teased with such a small rebate. I don’t claim to be the smartest, wheres the incentive.

  26. Andrew says:

    I would like to install solar on the trailer I’m currently in but the cost you mention is prohibitive.

  27. Erika says:

    If I buy a system that is too big, what happens to the “extra” power if I’m not attached to the grid? If I understand correctly from friends’ systems, “extra” power is simply lost if their batteries are full. Is there any benefit to turning the system “off”? Seems like staying attached to the grid is better (in an emergency, in February, whatever) but important to install a system that is about the right size or a little too small.

  28. Rebecca says:

    I have a horse farm in Kansas City that sits on the top of the hill and gets more than six hours of direct sun light per day. We were thinking of installing solar panels on the roof. We aren’t a gigantic energy user — although we run fans on the horses in the summer — but our bills run several hundred dollars per month. We had thought we could sell the excess energy to the grid. From what I’ve seen that won’t work in MO. Can we take our property “off the grid” entirely if we produce enough energy?

  29. Brett says:

    The power company’s are scarred, as they see what happened to the landline telephones business over the past 10 years due to people adopting cell phones and VOIP, and shutting down their expensive land lines, AT&T and Verizon have laid off thousands of workers and more are in the works.

    The same will happen to power company’s once solar is adopted on a large scale give it another 10 years, someone will make the systems cheaper and better than by power companies

    1. Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

      We’re already on our way, Brett. It’s a little complicated, but see this report from the NREL. Solar is already at grid parity in some states. Not Missouri yet, but sooner than you think.

  30. Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

    Thanks, Kevin! We try to keep track of all 50 states, so lots to keep up with. We appreciate your (and others’) updates.

  31. Kevin Ward says:

    Please update your site for the new $2 a watt Solar rebates available through KCPL and Amergen UE. We are awaiting approval to install the first system under the Amergen UE program right now. These rebates went into affect on January 1st.

  32. sharkman says:

    Wait a minute did I read this correctly any excess energy that is generated and accumulated during the year does not get issued as a credit or a rebate check? It just gets picked up by the utility company and billed out? If this is correct that is insanity. I am located in a particularly winded area with consistent year around avg wind speed at local air port(1-/2 mile away) and I am over 1000 ft higher elevation I am prime for wind and solar. I was thinking about powering the workshop I am building utilizing the 2 but would never use all i would generate because would only use maybe 20 hours a week but would need all the panels to power 100% I was under the impression it was fedral law that the electric companies had to buy back all kwh that went unused at whatever the current rate was. I would rather dump my unused electric than give the even 1 watt

  33. Kevin Ward says:

    Rasgaitis, If you are around St Louis we help you with a Solar System lease but it needs to be commissioned after January 1st and your utility needs to be AmerenUE which quietly announced a $2 a watt rebate last week. We have numerous installs already under contract in the area and will commission several on that date.

  34. T. Rasgaitis says:

    I’m a medically retired veteran. Since I only collect disability I do not have to file taxes. Where is my incentive. What the state offers is nothing.

    1. Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

      Hey, T. That’s something to ask your legislator, I’m afraid. Not us. If you can’t benefit from the Federal 30% tax credit, you’re not going to receive any incentives at this point. However, there may be some programs headed your way where you can finance the system through a special tax assessment on your property. Generally, these payments can be less than your current electric bill, but I don’t think any city in Mighty Mo land has adopted a PACE financing, sometimes known as “the Berkley program” or “municipal financing.”

      Bottom line, you’re not gonna get any incentives at this point, but that may change in the next few years. Also, please bug your local lawmakers to adopt PACE.

      Wish I could be more help.

  35. Dan Hahn says:

    Thanks Tammy,

    Noted above.

  36. Tammy says:

    The information you have posted under legislation for Missouri’s wood energy tax credit is incorrect & misleading. You make is sound like a tax credit is given for cutting down trees. The credit is given for using Missouri forestry industry residue.
    “Residue that results from normal timber harvest or production from a location within Missouri. It includes slash, saw dust, shavings,edgings, slabs, leaves, bark and timberthinnings from timber stand improvements which are located within Missouri.”
    To make
    (C) Processed wood products,Wood pellets,
    cubes, charcoal, flour or any product
    that results from thermal, chemical or
    mechanical processes that sufficiently alterMissouri forestry industry residue into a product that can be used as an energy source.
    So it is not cutting down healthy trees-it is using “leftovers”

  37. Shawn Evans says:

    Yes there needs to be cheaper ways to go solar and wind. Mainstreaming will bring it down. But Missouri is behind the times to the smaller towns need to go with mandatory recycling and incentives to get off grid or grid tie to put in cheaper systems. I am building a work shop I would like to have solar and wind power for this put it would break me to install. If someone has a way I could do this cheaply let me know.

  38. Mark says:

    If and when the State and Federal governments agree to truly support and ‘subsidize’alternative enery with a meaningful tax credit (like 50% of the total system cost), people will start installing them and this new industry will flourish. Until then it’s just more political lipservice!

  39. LeeAnn says:

    At the recent KCMO Home remodeling show I asked a representative of a solar panel manufacturer for a list of dealer/installers in the state. Not only did he refuse to pass along the information but he also told me that Missouri was interpreting the 35% tax rebate for solar systems installed “after January 1, 2009” to be anytime…and will not grant tax rebates until sometime in 2010. Is this information correct?

  40. Dan Hahn says:


    Panel estimates should be made based on energy usage, not the square footage of your space. Reason is, you could have an art gallery in all that space or you could be running heavy machinery in that space. The answer is to take a look at your power bill over the past year. Then, take an average of the kwh used over all those months. With that number in hand, you can get a sense of how many panels you’d need to eliminate your bill. Each panel might account for roughly 25-35kwh, depending on access to sunlight.

    Hope this helps,

    – Dan

  41. William Brueggen says:

    We have 30,000 sq ft of office space & 40,000 sq ft of warehouse. How do I calculate how many solar panels I will need to provide electricity for my whole operation? Is there a formula?

  42. Chris says:

    We are in the proccess of building a solar furnace using recycled aluminum cans. Depending on your building and salvaging skills these can be built for under $100 and produce 5000 btu’s of heat. Lots of construction videos for free on youtube.

    1. scot says:

      I would like to know more please

  43. Gene says:

    Back in the 1970’s my parents were given for free a solar box that was installed on the outside of their home, this heated the whole house, where can I get the same thing for my house. You don’t see anything like this any more. I live in North Kansas city , mo.

  44. Mike Rakestraw says:

    Just a note, as of now you can recive solar paneling for as little as a dollar a watt, figuring the average house uses 1000 watts a day, for a 1000 dollars you can run your homes electronics for free!

  45. Dan Hahn says:

    Hi Dave,

    We’re disappointed as well that the federal tax credit for going solar is a measley $2,000. However, we’re even more disappointed that congress failed to even renew that incentive, so it expires December 31st. On the table is a $4,000 maximum credit for solar that will probably be passed next year. Still though, you’re correct this is a drop in the bucket. Much of the incentive for solar adoption will be left to the states. Hopefully Missouri gets on board requiring their utilities to derive a significant portion of energy from renewables in the near term. That way, utilities will be forced to provide significant rebates or agree to purchase clean power from solar adopters at a higher rate. We urge all Missouri residents to contact their congressmen to make this happen.

  46. Dave says:

    I’m disappointed to read that the the federal tax credit for going solar is a measley 2 thousand dollars. That is hardly a drop in the bucket when paying 54 grand for a system. What about Missouri? No tax credits for this??

  47. Oneal says:

    This entire program is ridiculous! Why would anybody pay $54,000 plus interest to save $900 a year for 27 years. It another government mortgage trap. I guess whoever thought of this consider people who would like to save as simply…fools. Take your panels and ram it.

  48. Brad says:

    I will probably be going solar soon but not net metering as long as there is a chance I will be donating to the power companies. That is wrong if I generate it I should be paid for it the same as we have to pay the electric company. They will shut you off if you don’t pay. Why should they get anything for free?

  49. Diana says:

    I disagree with the statement that wood burning is not green. The technology today allows for efficient burning of wood and for those of us in heavily wooded areas, this is a very manageable and renewable resource.

    Missouri needs to get on the ball and do net metering correctly, not to benefit the electric company. If they keep going like this, when my house goes up this year, I’ll go off the grid. Wind is very plentiful here in the Ozarks and possibly garners a better bang for the buck.

  50. Dana Connell says:

    Hi, My husband is in construction, but he would like to get into something else. He was interested in becoming an installer of solar/wind mills. Since gas prices have soard we thought people could save money by going solar. We live in Missouri and know nothing about solar and need some assistance. Is this a profitable business? Thanks

  51. Andy says:

    I don’t see any power companies donating their power.

  52. ray says:

    When will there be a tax break to be able to make a diffrence in the green ?

  53. Daniel Poett says:


    We are G2Power Technologies, llc and we are a St. Louis based solar company offering solar products to the Missouri region. Please visit our page and learn more about how you can install solar products to your home and start reducing your addiction to utility companies.
    [email protected]

  54. Michael Monteith says:

    They have plenty to go by. Like California offers $2.2/watt and Nevada is like $3/watt rebate for solar. That reduces the cost per watt of putting in solar tremendiously to make it somewhat feasible. But still people use too much total electricity in the first place and need to reduce that. For me installing and buying my own equipment and installing it will defray the costs somewhat. Looks like windmills are better from the cost per watt side of it. I’ll probably have a combination.

    Missouri needs to get aggressive and make up for lost time. Give incentives to reduce how much electricity you use. Incentives for using more efficient devices. Incentives converting to solar and wind. It should have already been in place.


  55. larry j roberts says:

    I would like to install a solar and wind system. I think the recent bill 54 will allow me to place the system in operation as a grid tied net metering. The bill should not have allowed donating it to the power company at any time – seems ridiculous.
    I hope that a sun tracker will allow me to get maximum operation out of the system. For $2,000 tax credit or $6,666 of equipment, the project will have a small incentive. should have been a bigger incentive.

  56. Matt says:

    I would love to install solar, but the return on investment is way too far out to make sense. Government is clearly not serious about promoting alternative energy sources or they would offer larger tax rebates. I would rather build the structure in a more energy-efficient manner (eg. ICF’s, foam insulation, earth berm) and use the coop for power. Maybe someday solar and wind will make sense ecomomically.

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