Solar Panel Cost, Missouri
How Much do Solar Panels Cost in Missouri?
So solar panels are generally priced by the watt, and generally in Missouri solar panels cost between $2.40 and $2.60 per watt. This means a standard commercial solar panel of 250 watts is going to cost about $600 to $650. You will need anywhere from 20 to 28 solar panels to power your home (depending on a number of factors like average energy usage and home size), which will cost you around $12,000 on the low end and around $18,000 on the high end. This of course will sound cost prohibitive, and it is, but before you write solar panels off as too expensive, let’s look a little deeper at the rebates, incentives and tax write-offs that are available which could take thousands of dollars off your overall cost.
What are the benefits of going solar?
- Columbia Water & Light Rebates- If you are a customer of Columbia Water & Light, you are eligible for several rebates, detailed here: https://sunmetrix.com/incentives/2628/Columbia-Water-&-Light—Solar-Rebates/Missouri/. The short form of it is that you’re eligible for a rebate of up to $500 per kilowatt (a typical home requires 5-7 Kw) of solar panels installed. This rebate is capped at $5,000.
- Missouri Renewable Portfolio Standards- The state of Missouri requires all of its utility companies to get no less than 15% of their power from green or renewable energy resources, and the “Solar carve out” of that is .3%- Meaning they have to get at least that much from solar alone. If they don’t meet this standard, they will face heavy fines, so it’s much cheaper and more convenient for them to incentivize homeowners using renewable energy sources like solar panels than to create the energy themselves.
- State Net Metering Laws- Missouri does have state net metering laws, though they aren’t the strongest in the nation. More on net metering later in this article, but just know this is what allows you to “sell” back excess energy to the electric company.
- Property Tax Exemption- To encourage residents to invest in solar power systems, Missouri prohibits reassessment of property taxes based on their installation. In other words, your property tax legally cannot go up because of the installation of solar panels.
- Federal Tax Credit- Though the state of Missouri doesn’t offer a tax credit itself, anyone installing a solar power system is eligible to deduct 26% of the cost of the system (So anywhere from $3000 to $5000) from your federal tax responsibility.
How much will the addition of solar panels increase my home’s value?
A general rule of thumb is that solar panels increase the value of a home or property by 4%, but this can vary for a number of reasons. The size of the system, size of the home, amount of savings per year and the interest by a potential buyer in owning a home with solar panels. Just going by the 4% rule, the average home price in Missouri as of this writing was around $200,000, so a 4% increase would represent $8000 in added value. This number is deceptive though, because if a person is really interested in buying a home with solar panels, they might be willing to go significantly higher on the price than a 4% increase in home value would suggest.
What are the Effects of Net Metering on a Solar Energy System?
Net metering is the practice of measuring the total energy output of an energy system, such as the kind that would be installed with solar panels. When your home or business energy system is producing more energy than it needs, the excess is fed back into the grid and, in a state with good net metering laws, you are “paid” for the energy you put back into the system. This can often come in the form of “credits” toward your future energy bills, usually to be used for months when your energy use outpaces the production of your system. Usually these credits are measured in the form of kilowatt hours, and many states mandate that the producer of excess energy should be credited at a 1 to 1 ratio, meaning for every kilowatt hour you produce, you get a credit for 1 kilowatt hour. Some states do not mandate this though, and Missouri is one of those. Instead, you are credited an amount equal to the amount of energy you produced at the amount it would cost your utility company to produce that same energy. So for example, if you produce 100 extra kilowatt hours that go back into the grid, and the power company could produce that amount for $10, then you get a credit for that amount of money toward your bill.
How much solar power do I need to power my home?
An average home uses somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000 kilowatt hours of energy in a given year. This can vary wildly of course depending on a huge number of factors, of course, but for our purposes lets just assume the 5,000 to 7,000 number is accurate. This would mean you’ll need somewhere between 20 and 28 solar panels for your home to be completely self sufficient, as commercial solar panels are generally 250 watts.
What is the “Payback” period for Solar Panels in Missouri?
So go with me on this- the cheaper electricity is in your state, the longer your “payback” period (the time it takes for your solar panels to pay for themselves) is going to be. Missouri is among the cheaper states in the U.S. in terms of electric cost, with the average for a kilowatt hour being somewhere around 12 cents, which means the “payback” period for Missouri is going to be something like 9-12 years, and once again it depends on a large number of factors. That may sound like a long time, but keep in mind that once your solar panels have “paid” for themselves, you now have virtually free electricity for the remainder of their life span- and commercial solar panels are typically under warranty for 25 years. That means that even if it does take 12 years for your solar panels to pay for themselves, you will very likely have “free” electricity for the next 13 years. This could lead to a lifetime savings of anywhere from $40,000 to $60,000- no inconsequential sum of money.
How do I get solar panels installed in Missouri?
So it will probably come as little surprise to learn that the vast majority of solar companies in Missouri are clustered around the major cities- Springfield, St. Louis and Kansas City. Just from a cursory look, however, it appears that the southeastern part of the state is the only place where you have a sort of a solar desert- hardly any companies at all, that I can see. That doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get them, of course, it just means that you will have to find a company who is willing to come to your corner of the state for the installation. Not every company will, but there are some who will be glad to do so- Or, if you like to live dangerously, you can always consider doing it yourself.
Company: Lowes Home Improvement
Address: Multiple in the state
Years in Business: 76
Reviews: Too many to list; 1.12 / 5 on the BBB website however
Business Quote: “Bring on the Sun With Solar Panels From Lowe’s. Whether you want to protect the environment or become energy independent, solar panels and solar panel kits can help. “
The Good: National chain, good return policies, customer help lines, etc
The Bad: Do-it-yourself projects can sometimes go great, sometimes disastrously wrong… Like any big chain, Lowes has numerous complaints against them with the BBB, and it’s impossible to tell which are founded or unfounded
Summary: So hear me out- Apparently there’s a lot of Lowes Home Improvement stores in Missouri, and they all sell solar panels. So much so that when you search for solar panels in Missouri, Lowes is the #1 result. Now to be fair, it’s really not feasible to DIY a whole system of solar panels to power your entire home just out of parts you got at Lowes. However, if you’re just looking for a small system, or maybe know more than your average bear about electrical engineering, this could be your best bet if you live in one of the isolated parts of the state that doesn’t have access to many (if any) solar companies. The issue here would be that they’re going to be more expensive coming from Lowes than when installed by a company, and of course you have to know a little bit about what you’re doing to get it done right. I am by no means saying do or do not use Lowes, but I’m just throwing it out there as an option.
Company: Sun Solar
Address: 2531 N Patterson Ave, Springfield, MO 65803
Years in Business: 9
Reviews: 2.3 / 5 BBB (3 reviews), 4 / 5 Yelp (3 reviews), 3.7 / 5 Solarreviews (15 reviews)
Business Quote: “Rated the #1 residential solar company in Missouri, our goal is to make going solar easy and affordable so you can start saving money on electric costs as soon as possible.”
The Good: One of the better “refer a friend” programs I’ve seen at $1,000 a head. I’m about to go bounty hunting.
The Bad: Frightening amount of complaints with the BBB (9) and some sketchy reviews out there
Summary: Let me start by saying I have nothing against this company and they could be extremely good at what they do and very ethical. That being said, I have rarely seen as many bad reviews out there and as many complaints with the BBB as I have with this company, and the fact that they’ve only been in business for 9 years does not help things. The customer complaints run the gamut with everything from not living up to production guarantees to not showing up for service calls to not honoring warranty due to “squirrel damage” (I kid you not). Their website however looks good and is very informative, and they do have as many good review out there as bad ones. So it could be that they’ve just had some bad luck with clients. It’s hard to say at this time. Maybe avoid this company if you live in a highly squirreled area.
Company: StraightUp Solar
Address: 11696 Lilburn Park Rd, Saint Louis, MO 63146
Years in Business: 15
Reviews: 3.5 / 5 Yelp (9 reviews), 4.5 / 5 Angi (15 reviews), 4.5 / 5 Facebook (36 reviews),
Business Quote: “We are Illinois’ and Missouri’s most experienced turn-key solar energy design and installation firm with more than 1,700 installations to date. We help homeowners…reduce electricity costs, gain energy independence, and secure a powerful return on investment.”
The Good: Nice website, good reviews, only 1 complaint on the BBB website
The Bad: There are a few bad reviews out there about them, though almost all of them are about something other than the quality of their work.
Summary: It’s hard to find anything negative to say about this company. They appear to be reputable and to do good work, they have good reviews out there and a nice looking website that says all the right things. There are hardly any complaints about their actual work out there- almost everything bad someone had to say about them was about things like their trucks blocking their driveway while they worked on a neighbor’s house or other things like that. So StraightUp Solar looks like a good one to check into if you’re in the St. Louis area.
Company: Sunsmart Technologies
Address: 701 NE 76th St, Gladstone, MO 64118
Years in Business: 9
Reviews: 2 / 5 BBB (5 reviews), 3.5 / 5 Yelp (5 reviews), 4.2 / 5 Facebook (40 reviews)
Business Quote: “Want a single-digit utility bill? Want to get that bill on a hot summer day while your air conditioner is running? We’re Sunsmart Technologies, and our job is to make that happen. We’ve been part of the solar energy industry for more than five years and have been serving the Kansas City area since 2012”
The Good: Mostly good reviews out there
The Bad: A couple of complaints with the BBB, Website is a little weird and text-heavy.
Summary: This company is kind of a mixed bag. They have a lot of reviews out there, which are mostly positive but there are some negative ones out there. They have a couple of complaints with the BBB, but are there enough to keep you from doing business with them? Again, most of the press out there about them is positive. I will say this, that’s one ugly website.
Company; Green Leaf Solar
Address: 1406B Lakeview Ave, Columbia, MO 65201
Years in Business: ?
Reviews: 5 / 5 Facebook (4 reviews),
Business Quote: “We enjoy what we do. When our team shows up to an install, the customers are eager to have the system installed, neighbors stop and ask questions. It’s a cool thing to be a part of that.”
The Good: Neat website, lots of drone footage of their installations
The Bad: Cannot find them on the BBB website; Usually not a good sign
Summary: I can’t find an entry for these guys on the BBB website, which is usually a worrisome sign. I also can’t find any mention of how long they have been in business, so I’m going to assume “not long”. The good news though is that I can’t find anything negative out there about these folks, and their website looks good and has lots of good imagery. So if you’re in the area of Columbia, Green Leaf looks like a good company to talk to for your solar needs.
Missouri is actually surprisingly sunny, with an average of 204 “sunny” days per year in the show Me state. And no matter what part of the state you live in, chances are you can find an installer near you who will do a good job. We looked at a few in this article from some of the more populated areas- Columbia, Springfield, Kansas City, St. Louis- but if you look, I’m confident you’ll find somebody close enough to wherever you live that can meet your solar needs.