Missouri Solar Power: Check Your Savings, Costs, Tax Breaks, Incentives and Rebates
Missouri gets a decent amount of sunlight, averaging at around five daily peak sun-hours, which represents a great opportunity to save money by investing in a residential solar PV system.
The financial attractiveness of solar power in Missouri is further enhanced thanks to the rebates available, as well as a tax exemption on your property’s value increase after going solar.
Return on Investment for Residential Solar Power in Missouri
Since every home is unique, there is no single PV system size that fits all scenarios, as the ideal installed capacity depends on both the energy consumption habits and the available rooftop area for solar power.
However, residential PV systems tend to average at around 5 kilowatts, so we will assume that system size for the case study in this article.
- The installed cost of a 5-kW solar PV system in Missouri is around $19,000.
- Several local utilities offer a rebate of $500/kilowatt, which means your project will cost $2,500 less, bringing down the upfront investment to $16,500.
- Then you can apply the 30% federal tax credit, getting back $4,950 as a tax deduction and bringing down the net cost to $11,550.
- The PV system will immediately start generating savings, which are estimated at $750 for the first year. If you consider the net expense over year one, it is reduced to only $10,800, which is a great price for a 5-kW system.
- You can expect a payback period of 13 years. Considering that the best solar panels for home use come with 25-year warranties, you are guaranteed to get at least 12 years of free energy. The net profit you will make over this 25-year period is over $17,500!
- There is another financial benefit: solar increases home value by nearly $15,000, but your property tax stays the same.
- After you get your benefits, the environment also gets its share: your PV system has the same impact as planting more than 100 trees during each year of operation.
Keep in mind this analysis assumes a 5-kWh PV system is subject to the average sunlight conditions of Missouri.
In reality, every project is unique and no two photo-voltaic arrays will produce the exact same amount of energy even if their installed capacity is the same.
- A rooftop facing south, because locations in the northern hemisphere get more sunshine from that side of the sky.
- Free from natural or man-made obstacles that can block a significant portion of the incoming sunlight.
If you have your geographic coordinates and want to know the exact sunlight availability at your location, you can go to the NASA Atmospheric Science Data Center website. The site offers meteorological information of all types, including solar radiation data tables for solar power.
You can even generate tables that break down solar radiation by month and by solar panel tilt angle.
Missouri Solar Power Incentives, Tax Breaks and Rebates
The main incentives to switch to solar in Missouri are the $500/kW rebate and the property tax exemption, which ease up your cash flow during both PV system installation and ownership. There is also a favorable net metering policy.
There are no state-level tax credits for solar power in Missouri, but the 30% federal tax credit applies.
Also, despite having a property tax exemption, solar PV systems are subject to the sales tax. Neither of these factors is a deal breaker, however.
Missouri has a Renewable Portfolio Standard that requires all utility companies to get at least 15% of their energy from renewable sources by 2021, and 0.3% of the total energy must come specifically from solar power.
There is a simple reason why this is good for solar power: utilities face huge fines if they don’t comply, and residential solar power counts towards their targets.
Missouri Tax Credit
There is no state tax credit in Missouri, but the 30% federal tax credit allows you to get back a huge portion of your initial investment within a year. A 5-kW PV system costs around $16,500 after rebates, which translates into a tax credit of nearly 5,000 dollars.
You are even allowed to split that tax deduction in two if you are not taxed high enough to deduct the entire amount in one year!
Missouri Tax Exemptions
Solar power is 100% free from the property tax in Missouri: your home is worth around $15,000 more after installing a 5-kW PV system, but you are not taxed higher for it.
Are There Any Rebates for Solar Power in Missouri?
- Columbia Water & Light – Rebate capped at $5000. - Empire District Electric – Rebate expires in 2018. - Kansas City Power & Light – Rebate expires in 2018.
- Columbia Water & Light – Rebate capped at $5000.
- Empire District Electric – Rebate expires in 2018.
- Kansas City Power & Light – Rebate expires in 2018.
These rebates reduce the upfront cost of your PV system by 13%, making the investment much more attractive.
Just keep their limitations in mind to make sure you get the full benefit: in the case of Columbia Water & Light you only get the rebate for the first 10 kilowatts of capacity, and in the other two cases you have to go solar before 2018 ends to be eligible.
Missouri Electricity Rates
Electricity rates average at around $0.12/kWh in Missouri, but this is possible thanks to the use of power plants that run on fossil fuels.
Keep in mind governments across the world are committing to reducing their emissions, and energy from fossil fuels could become more expensive as new regulations come into play.
However, this only means more savings for homeowners who go solar, and even at current electricity rates a solar PV system can save you more than $17,500 over the next 25 years.
Is There Net Metering in Missouri?
Missouri has a favorable net metering policy, in which utilities are required to monitor your energy consumption and production, and also to pay you for any surplus production.
The only drawback is that you are not paid the full retail price for surplus energy: utility companies calculate how much it would have cost them to produce that energy by their own means, and that is the rate they use.
In terms of interconnection policy, utilities can’t impose insurance requirements on any PV system below 10 kilowatts of capacity. You may be required to installed an external disconnect switch, but only if deemed necessary.
Is there a Feed-in Tariff in Missouri?
Technically, you can accumulate SRECs (Solar Renewable Energy Credits) in Missouri. These are credits you earn based on the kWh output of your PV system, and can sell them for cash.
The only problem is that the program is currently inactive, and you can accumulate credits but not sell them. The good news is that, if the program reopens and you have accumulated a lot of SRECs, you can earn a lot of cash all at once!
Are There $0 Down Payment Financing Options in Missouri?
If you want to go solar in Missouri for $0 down, you have two options:
you can take a low-interest loan to pay for the solar PV system installation; or you can sign up for a solar lease or Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), where a third-party owns the PV system and you pay them a monthly fee.
Solar Lease in Missouri
- A company installs a PV system on your rooftop, free of charge, and you agree to pay them a fixed monthly fee for using the system. Basically, they own the system and you use it. - You will save money every month, and the difference after covering the lease payment represents your net savings. - You may have the option of purchasing the solar PV system at a discounted price after the end of the lease (typically 15 to 20 years).
- A company installs a PV system on your rooftop, free of charge, and you agree to pay them a fixed monthly fee for using the system. Basically, they own the system and you use it.
- You will save money every month, and the difference after covering the lease payment represents your net savings.
- You may have the option of purchasing the solar PV system at a discounted price after the end of the lease (typically 15 to 20 years).
With a solar lease in Missouri, you can expect cash savings of around $3,000 over a 20-year period.
PPA Option in Missouri
A PPA is basically an alternative version of a lease, where a third party installs a PV system on your rooftop, it is owned by them, and you pay them a monthly fee. In a PPA, however, you pay a fee based on the total kWh production at an electric rate below that of the utility company.
With a PPA, you pay for what you get at a discounted price, which means you don’t have to worry if the PV system performs poorly in a month due to bad weather.
However, the long-term financial performance of a PPA is comparable to that of a lease: you can also expect around $3,000 in savings over 20 years in this case.
As implied by its name, this option consists on getting a low-interest loan such as a HELOC (home equity line of credit), purchasing a PV system, and using the tax benefits and savings to start paying off the loan.
Purchasing a 5-kW solar PV system in Missouri through a loan results in profits of nearly $11,000 over 25 years. This is nearly four times as much as what you save with a solar lease or a PPA, and the loan is the winning choice if you have access to low interest rates.
Leasing VS Purchasing: What’s Best for Missouri Homeowners?
Between leasing and purchasing, there is no best option for all cases because each has its pros and cons. However, consider the following guidelines:
Purchasing a PV system in Missouri
Purchasing a PV system in Missouri entitles you to a huge tax benefit and maximizes the total savings you get from solar power.
The cash purchase gives you more than $17,000 in savings, although you have to assume a 13-year payback period;
On the other hand, a purchase through a loan saves you nearly $11,000, but for $0 down.
Leasing a PV system in Missouri
Leasing a PV system in Missouri is only recommended if you don’t have the home equity for a low-interest loan.
There is no upfront cash payment and no loan to cover, but you can only expect around $3,000 in savings over 20 years.
What is the Solar Power Installation Process in Missouri?
There is no standard interconnection procedure in Missouri, which leaves the requirements to the utility’s discretion. We strongly recommend you hire a qualified and experienced solar installer who is familiarized with the process, in order to go solar with minimum hassle.
1. Fill our solar installation form, providing basic information about your property. 2. Talk with trusted solar contractors near you to get detailed quotes. 3. Compare quotes and choose the best option for you. We recommend you get at least three. 4. Have your contractor install the PV system, and enjoy clean power while helping the planet.
1. Fill our solar installation form, providing basic information about your property.
2. Talk with trusted solar contractors near you to get detailed quotes.
3. Compare quotes and choose the best option for you. We recommend you get at least three.
4. Have your contractor install the PV system, and enjoy clean power while helping the planet.
After you sign the agreement with your contractor of choice, the process only takes from three to four days.
Remember the examples in this article are for a 5-kilowatt PV system, subject to the average sunlight conditions of Missouri.
You will know the exact price and expected performance once you get a proposal from your solar installer of choice.
Solar power in Missouri is a solid investment: three of the main utilities offer you a $500/kW rebate, there is a property tax exemption, the net metering policy is favorable, and the 30% federal tax credit means you get back nearly a third of your investment in less than a year.
Missouri would become an even better market for solar power if the SREC market is reactivated, increasing the yearly savings produced by a solar PV system.
There is already a property tax exemption, but the outlook could be further improved by making solar PV systems exempt from the sales tax or by introducing a state tax credit.