Solar Panel Cost Guide in Columbia, MO (Feb 2023)

  • Columbia Solar Installation Cost: $13,126
  • 25-Year Savings: $20,297
  • Payback Period: 9.8 Years

See cost of a solar system near you:

By EcoWatch Local Advisors

Data Analysis: James Savino

Ranking Methodology: Karsten Neumeister

Updated January 20, 2023

Why you can trust EcoWatch

We work with a panel of solar experts to create unbiased reviews that empower you to make the right choice for your home. No other site has covered renewables as long as us, which means we have more data and insider information than other sites. Our rankings are never affected by revenue or partnerships.

Average Cost of Solar Panels in Columbia

Find out what the average cost of solar panel installation is in Columbia.

The national average cost of solar panels is $2.66 per watt, but in Columbia it's $3 per watt. The average Columbia homeowner needs a 7.2-kilowatt system, which would cost about $13,126, or $9,713 after the federal solar tax credit of 30% is applied.

Keep in mind that the numbers above are only averages. The price you'll pay for solar will differ based on your household energy needs, the type of solar system you choose, your solar contractor and more. For many homeowners, the upfront investment in solar power is worth paying. On average homeowners in Columbia see about $18,000 in savings on energy bills over 20 years.

You can click the button below to get connected with a vetted solar installer in Columbia that can help you get a more accurate cost estimate for your home.

Solar savings over time in Columbia

Year Return on Investment
1 years $-11,789
3 years $-9,115
5 years $-6,442
7 years $-3,768
9 years $-1,094
11 years $1,580
13 years $4,254
15 years $6,928
17 years $9,601
19 years $12,275
21 years $14,949
23 years $17,623
25 years $20,297

Top Solar Installers in Columbia

DIY solar panel installation is a choice some homeowners opt for, but it's an undertaking that can use up a lot of your time and energy. Taking advantage of a solar company can make your swap to solar power much easier. A solar installer can also help save you money over the lifespan of your system by providing warranties, repairs and system component replacements.

There are various licensed solar professionals that can take care of your solar installation project. Here are our suggestions:

Best National Provider

SunPower

★★★★★
5.0

  • Most efficient panels on the market
  • National coverage
  • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Great warranty coverage
  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

Best Solar Financing

Blue Raven Solar

★★★★★
4.5

  • Industry-leading in-house financing
  • Competitive pricing
  • Excellent reputation
  • Doesn't offer solar batteries (coming 2022)

Best Technology

Tesla Energy

★★★★★
4.5

  • Price-match guarantee
  • Sleek, efficient, and durable solar panels
  • Best solar battery on the market
  • Some reported issues with customer service
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

See all of the solar companies in Columbia

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in Columbia

For many Columbia homeowners, the decision to go solar rests on cost. However, the range of solar installation costs can be quite wide in Columbia, with typical prices between $20,000 to $40,000. There are various factors that significantly influence the price you'll pay, which we'll go over below.

Solar Equipment

System size, which is measured in kilowatts, is one of the largest factors that affects the overall cost of installing solar panels. That's why it's a priority to accurately ascertain the size of the solar energy system needed for your home by figuring out your typical energy use. The kind of solar equipment you choose can increase or decrease your cost by thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. If you opt for the most efficient solar panel brands, you'll end up paying more upfront than if you opted for the most affordable panels. On the other hand, more efficient panels could save you more over time on your energy bills. Additionally, extra products, such as solar batteries, can bring your total well above the Columbia average.

Solar Financing Terms

If paying for solar panels out of pocket is out of reach, solar loans are a popular option because they decrease your upfront costs and allow you to pay for your system over a term of, on average, between five and seven years. Even though solar loans make going solar more accessible for Columbia homeowners, they can also increase the total you pay for your system, depending on your interest rate and how long you take to pay off the loan. If you put down a larger down payment, though, you can avoid paying as much in interest.

Solar Panel Installation Company

Lastly, the company you hire to install your solar system can affect your pricing. Columbia's solar companies all have different labor costs and add varying upcharges to equipment. The company's size sometimes plays the most considerable role in your costs. Larger national companies, like SunPro and Sunrun, often have lower pricing because of more resources and better pricing. Smaller local companies might be more costly, but they generally have better customer service and more customization options, and the occasional sale or promotion can bring their pricing down to compete with bigger companies.

Solar Panel Cost Data by System Size

System size Cost per system watt Solar system cost 25-Year savings Payback period
6 kW $2.69 $11,313 $16,373 10.2 years
8 kW $2.64 $14,794 $22,121 10.0 years
10 kW $2.59 $18,130 $28,014 9.8 years
12 kW $2.54 $21,321 $34,051 9.6 years
14 kW $2.49 $24,367 $40,234 9.4 years
16 kW $2.43 $27,268 $46,562 9.2 years
18 kW $2.38 $30,023 $53,035 9.0 years
20 kW $2.33 $32,634 $59,653 8.8 years

How to Save on Solar Panels

The solar panel company you choose will affect not only your overall costs, but also the types of solar panel brands, warranties, and other equipment you have access to. When choosing a solar company, there are some important things you should keep in mind, such as:

  • Reputation: Make sure your solar installer has a good reputation by confirming it has certifications and licenses, checking its number of years in business and reading reviews by previous customers and solar experts like EcoWatch.
  • Contract: It's important to look over your solar installer's contract carefully to understand what services they will provide, what the warranty covers and what expectations you should have about the cost.
  • Installation Process: Get details from your solar company about the installation process and what to expect, such as when the site survey will be done and how long it will take.
  • Solar Panel Brands: Different companies carry various brands and kinds of panels. If you prefer a specific brand, make sure the solar installer you're considering has it.

Best National Provider

SunPower

★★★★★
5.0

  • Most efficient panels on the market
  • National coverage
  • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Great warranty coverage
  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

Best Solar Financing

Blue Raven Solar

★★★★★
4.5

  • Industry-leading in-house financing
  • Competitive pricing
  • Excellent reputation
  • Doesn't offer solar batteries (coming 2022)

Best Technology

Tesla Energy

★★★★★
4.5

  • Price-match guarantee
  • Sleek, efficient, and durable solar panels
  • Best solar battery on the market
  • Some reported issues with customer service
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

EcoWatch's Columbia, MO Solar Cost FAQs

How much does it cost to install solar panels in Columbia?

The average cost of solar panels in Columbia is about $12,950 for a 5-kW system and $25,900 for a 10-kW system before the ITC, but the real cost will depend on stuff such as the type of solar panels you want, what size system you need and how much energy you use.

Are solar panels free in Columbia?

You can't get solar panels for free in Columbia. However, you may still be able to install them on a lower budget. You can lease solar panels for a low upfront cost or, if you want to own your solar panels, you can finance them with a solar loan.

Can solar panels eliminate my power bills?

Solar panels can potentially eliminate your electricity bills depending on where you're located and the efficiency of your system. Even if it doesn't get rid of them completely, you can save a lot of money on your bills, about $922.87 per year.

How long do solar panels last in Columbia?

Although the average lifespan of solar panels is 25 to 30 years, that doesn't mean they stop working completely at that time. What this means is their energy production will have decreased significantly after that point. You can replace them once you've had them for that long or you can keep using them at a lower efficiency.

Our goal is to reach as many people as we can with sensible solutions like solar energy. Our team of full-time local researchers collects solar price and installation data for every city in America then compiles it to create these digestible city guides. If you want to read our solar expert's opinion on the top solar companies featured here, follow this link.

Company research was conducted by Melissa Smith and Karsten Neumeister. Local data analysis was conducted by James Savino. See something we missed or could do better? Email the editor.

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