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Clear info on home solar power rebates, tax credits, and other benefits

2017 Policy Grade

D

Avg. Yearly Savings

$94

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

2017 Policy Grade

D

Avg. Savings/year

$94

At Solar Power Rocks, our dream is to turn your thoughts of solar power for your home into reality

Note: The numbers above are just estimates for a 5kW solar system, and your home is unique. The best way to know exactly how much money solar power can save you is to connect with one of our partners nearby. A friendly solar expert we trust will give you a buzz and help you craft a personal plan to get the absolute most out of a solar power system for your home. It's 100% free (yes, that’s right, 100% free) and you aren't obligated to buy anything.

From the Gateway Arch to Branson, with stops along the way in the Ozarks, Missouri has tons of stuff going on. Don’t forget about the Kansas City Jazz scene either. With all sorts of natural beauty in the state, what better way to take care of Missouri than by using renewable energy? Clean solar power is also a great way to keep the state’s important waterways sparkling too.

It’s been years since Missourians voted to adopt a renewable energy standard, and solar isn’t as booming as it once was, partly due to the sunsetting of rebates and utility company payments to homeowners with solar installations, but there’s still a lot of great reasons to go solar. Keep reading to see what’s happening with solar energy in the Show Me state.

Questions? Our network of solar experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page. You can get discounted on-grid pricing as low as $4,000/kW! This is paired with the Missouri solar incentives you see below.

Your guide to going solar in Missouri

We've designed this page to be a complete guide to the complicated and sometimes confusing process of installing solar panels on a home in Missouri. Since there's a lot of important information 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!

The Solar Strategy section is all about the various financial options you have in Missouri. We've created a tool that asks you a few questions about what you hope to get out of a solar purchase and recommends whether you should pursue a solar lease, loan, or outright purchase. Then, we give you a detailed picture of how each could work for you.

The Policy Information section contains all of our latest research on the rules set by the state legislature and public utilities commission that determines how easy it is to go solar in Missouri. These policies and rules govern everything from renewable energy mandates to whether you get paid retail or wholesale rates for the extra energy your system produces, and can have a huge effect on the viability of solar.

Finally, the Solar Incentives section lists all of the available financial benefits available to homeowners who go solar. This section includes information about money-back rebates and grants, tax credits, and tax exemptions. If you're looking for what Missouri is doing to make solar more affordable for its citizens, you'll find it here.

We hope you find our work useful. If so, please help us keep our research and advocacy as strong as possible by sharing it with someone who might also find it interesting, contributing any amount you can, and by getting yourself personalized savings estimates from our trusted partner network.

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:

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Compare the Return of Different Solar Investments in Missouri

the financial return of solar installations in Missiouri

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 Home Equity Loan or 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!

Read more below about each of three good options for solar in Missouri.

Net Present Value of Solar in Missouri

“Net Present What?!” Don’t panic, this isn’t an economics test. NPV is just a tool used to compare investments. Basically, it asks, “if you had X dollars to invest, which investment would get you the best return?” It relies on the idea that getting a return on your investment sooner is better than later, because you can reinvest your early profits and keep the gain train going.

We compare an investment in solar to a “what-if” investment in a Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 stock index fund, which has seen growth of about 7% per year over the past 25 years. We use the cost of solar in Missouri and ask “how much better or worse (in 2017 dollars) is an investment in solar than stocks?” Here's what we found for the three different ways of going solar in Missouri:

blue  Solar Power-Purchase Agreements in Missouri

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 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 save you about $94 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 20 years, our estimate shows a total savings of $3,138. 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!

Here's more about how a solar PPA works:

Example savings in Missouri

Annual Electric Bill Before Solar

$1,314

Annual Electric Bill After Solar

$690

Est. Annual Solar Payments

$530

Average Annual Savings

$94

Power-Purchase Agreements (PPAs) are the most popular form of what's called "third-party solar." A PPA just means your solar company owns the panels on your roof, and you pay for the electricity they produce. The numbers above show the savings with a solar PPA for an average home in Missouri. The typical electric bill before solar power is super expensive, but with a PPA, your monthly expenses will be lower. You'll be saving money and saving the planet all at the same time!

Here's an estimate of the monthly savings for a solar PPA in Missouri:

Monthly solar PPA savings in Missouri

With a PPA, your solar company essentially becomes a second utility provider, only the solar electricity is sold to you at a lower rate than the fossil fuel electricity you've been buying from the electric company! Note: your PPA won't eliminate your power bill from your regular electric provider, because you'll still need energy from the grid when the sun isn't shining. But it will save you money!

The less-popular cousin of the third-party solar family is the solar lease. It's basically like renting your panels for a set monthly payment, and getting all the energy they produce—however much it is. Don't get spooked by that language, though. A typical solar lease comes with energy production guarantees that will make sure you're getting what you paid for. In fact, if you're not offered a production guarantee with a solar lease, walk away.

Here's the best part of third-party solar: whether you end up with a lease or a PPA, the installation company owns the panels and will do all the maintenance for you. Usually that means just a good cleaning every year, but if any part of that system fails, you're off the hook! That can be a great benefit to homeowners who are risk averse.

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 lease or PPA, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

Home Solar Power: PPA vs. Purchasing

To PPA, or not to PPA? Willsolar Shakespanels would be proud we're discussing this. Here's the basic deal. If you choose to lease your panels, you benefit from no out of pocket costs and an immediately reduced total electricity payment. Because of this, many regard this option as a no-brainer, since there isn't any downside to think of. The only hiccup you'll start to experience is when you consider the long term financial benefit of owning the solar panel system yourself.

In many situations, if you can afford the outlay or can easily secure financing, the cost of the install becomes an investment with a return outpacing even the strongest performing mutual funds. In addition, there's significantly less principal risk, since the energy credits you will be producing are tied to the sun coming up in the morning instead of our financial markets!

Additionally, if you go the PPA route, you must forfeit all the credits and performance payments you would receive by owning the system yourself to the solar PPA company (after all, that's how they can afford to give you such a no-brainer proposition in the first place).

orange square  Solar Loans in Missouri

You don't need $20,000 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 $20,000, with a fixed rate of 4% 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 5-kW solar system should start at about $20,000. 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 $624, but your annual loan payments will be $1,775, meaning you would spend $1,151 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 $6,000. You'll be paying over time but getting the benefits up front!
  • All those incentives mean you'll come out $4,845 ahead after year 1. Your loan payments will be about $96/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 2031, you'll see yearly savings of over $1,000. After 25 years, your total profit will be $1,463!
  • On top of the green that will stay in your pocket, your system will mean green for the environment, too—104 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.

green square  Buying Solar in Missouri

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 $20,000, 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 $8,000 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 $624 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 5-kW rooftop solar system in Missouri:

  • Installing a typical 5-kW solar system should start at about $20,000. 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. So take 30% of $20,000, and you've got a tax credit of $6,000. That brings your first-year investment down to $14,000.
  • After the tax credit we subtract your first year’s energy savings, which we estimate to be $624. That reduces your cost after the first year to only $13,376.
  • Those electricity savings will quickly make your money back, and your system will pay for itself in 18 years. You'll see a total net profit of $8,092 before the end of your panels' 25-year warranty. The internal rate of return for this investment is not too shabby at 3.7%, 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 $18,000, too (your expected electricity savings over 20 years).
  • 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 104 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.

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 Florida—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:

RPS

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

$0.10/kwh

Grade: D

Missouri's Electricity cost grade

Missourians pay an average of 10 cents per kilowatt-hour (“kWh”) of electricity; just about 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

B

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

None

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

Missouri Solar Power Rebates

Locally available

Grade: D

Missouri's Solar Rebates grade

Missouri has no statewide rebate program for solar installations, but a few of the state's electric utility companies offer rebates for their customers. Here's what's available for homeowners in Missouri:

Utility Amount Notes
Columbia Water & Light $500/kW, up to $5,000 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

None

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

None

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.

If you don’t know what an SREC is, or how they work, check out this great SREC video

Property Tax Exemption

100%

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. Many argue that solar power adds approximately 20 times your annual electricity bill savings (if you are owning the system and not leasing. Leasing still has a positive impact on the ability to sell your home though, in our opinion).

For many average-sized solar power systems on a house, that can mean $20,000 to your home value. (Edit April, 2014: Some companies, like Solar Mosaic, are starting to offer traditional style equity-based home loans for such a thing). 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 also sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. The stronger the tax exemption, the higher the grade.

Sales Tax Exemption

None

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).

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The consensus on Missouri solar power rebates and incentives

If you’re lucky enough to cash in on one of those big utility-backed solar power rebates, Missouri offers an excellent (i.e., low) cost after year 1 and a solid overall payback timeframe. That would have been enough to earn a “B” from us in some cases, but the gaps in rebate availability and low marks in many policy areas drag down the overall score. Until the majority of the state’s utilities offer rebates and some of those policy holes are filled, we rate Missouri a “C.”

61 thoughts on “Missouri Solar Power for your house – rebates, tax credits, savings

  1. 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: http://www.sovereignsolarusa.com or check us out on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sovereignusa. Thanks for the shameless self-promotion, Solar Power Rocks!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!!

  5. Anonymous says:

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

  6. 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. http://ericsenergy.com/solar-services/

  7. Anonymous says:

    How about some info covering KCPL in Kansas City?

  8. 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

  9. 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)

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

  11. Great stuff and great page! If anyone is interested in a free solar panel system for your home or business – see us at http://www.kauffler.com

  12. 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

  13. Anonymous says:

    here is a company in STL doing just that. good luck.. i too have the same idea. shouldnt be long.. ;) http://microgrid-solar.com/

  14. 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*

  15. Bryan Hornsby says:

    KCP&L now has $2/watt rebate for Kansas City customers…think this should be updated! http://www.sovdepot.com

  16. 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 “www.energystar.gov”) get your estimates, check with the BBB and join the solar powered life.

  17. 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!

  18. 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: http://preview.tinyurl.com/ONTILITYtrainingSTL

    I noticed there are also scholarships for displaced construction workers.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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 jwattler4@my.stlcc.edu
    *companies in the area that are cheap
    *grants we could get
    *tax information
    *price on panels
    *savings facts
    Thanks,
    James

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. Andrew says:

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

  26. 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.

  27. 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?

  28. 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. 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.

      http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy10osti/46909.pdf

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

  30. 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.

  31. 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

  32. 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.

  33. 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. 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.

  34. Dan Hahn says:

    Thanks Tammy,

    Noted above.

  35. 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”

  36. 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.

  37. 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!

  38. 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?

  39. Dan Hahn says:

    William,

    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

  40. 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?

  41. 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

  42. 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.

  43. 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!

  44. 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.

  45. 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??

  46. 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.

  47. 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?

  48. 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.

  49. 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

  50. Andy says:

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

  51. ray says:

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

  52. Daniel Poett says:

    Hello:

    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.

    http://www.g2power.com
    sales@g2power.com

  53. 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.

    Michael

  54. 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.

  55. 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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