Solar Panel Cost Guide in Columbia, MO (Sep 2022)

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

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EcoWatch Local Advisors

By EcoWatch Local Advisors

Updated 9/16/2022

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Average Cost of Solar Panels in Columbia

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

While the national average of solar panels is $2.66 per watt, solar panels in Columbia generally cost around $3. Because a 7.2-kW system is needed to cover the energy needs of a typical home in Columbia, the average price of going solar will be about $13,126 before claiming the federal solar tax credit of 30%.

The true cost of your system can go higher or lower than the average in Columbia depending on a variety of factors, such as the type of solar panels you choose and the solar installer you hire. Even with the significant initial cost, the average Columbia homeowner can save around $18,000 on their energy bills over 20 years, which is one of the advantages of solar.

Click the button below to get connected to a reputable solar panel company in Columbia for a personalized quote.

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

Although it's possible to install solar panels on your own, it involves extra energy and handiness. Because of that, the majority of homeowners choose to hire a solar panel installer. Plus, if you're unsure what type of solar panels and equipment you want, a solar expert can help you find the right equipment for you after a site survey and consultation.

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

The Green Panel

★★★★★
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 Size

When it comes to estimating the cost of a solar system in Columbia, one of the most crucial factors is the size of the system you need. Solar systems are sized by kilowatts (kW) and are primarily based on your home's energy usage, which you can gauge by looking at past energy bills. Your total cost can increase by around $2,590 for each additional kilowatt you need. The brand and type of equipment you get for your solar system can raise or lower the price quite significantly. If you prefer a trusted brand name like Tesla or SunPower, these often come at a higher price than other brands. Efficiency also matters. Whether you're opting for high efficiency because you have a small roof or just want maximum energy production, you will be looking at a higher equipment cost, but this can typically lead to more savings over time. Also, if you want add-ons like an electric vehicle charger or solar batteries, this will also increase the cost.

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

The solar installer you opt for to handle your switch to green energy can have an effect on your total costs. There are about 3 solar installation companies operating throughout Columbia, and each can charge varying amounts for labor and equipment. Some companies only sell high-efficiency and high-priced products — like Maxeon solar panels from SunPower or Tesla Powerwall batteries — so choosing those installers will generally come with an above-average cost. It's best to do some research and decide on the company that offers the products, warranties and services you want and also fits within your budget.

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

Solar Incentives in Columbia

Name Empire District Electric - Solar PV Rebates
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

Name Columbia Water & Light - Solar Rebates
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

Name Solar Property Tax Exemption
Incentive Amount 100% exemption
More Info Click here

Name Columbia Water & Light - Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Loan
Incentive Amount $30,000
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

Name Co-Mo Electric Cooperative - Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

Name Wabash Valley Power Association (28 Member Cooperatives) - Residential Energy Efficiency Program
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

Name Ameren Missouri (Electric) - Residential Heating and Cooling Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

Name Local Option - Clean Energy Development Boards
More Info Click here

Name Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

How to Save on Solar Panels

The solar installer you opt for will impact not only your overall costs, but also the kinds of solar panel brands, warranties, and other equipment you have access to. When choosing a solar company, there are some important things you should take into account, including:

  • Solar Panel Brands: Each solar panel brand and kind has varying levels of quality, durability and energy efficiency. They will come at different costs as well. The company you choose plays a role in which solar panel brands you have access to.
  • Installation Process: Homeowners should understand how exactly the installation process will go, as well as important factors like the project completion timeline.
  • Reputation: Solar installers that have great reviews from their customers and that have been in business for many years likely provide good-quality solar panel installation and expertise.
  • Contract: It's important to read through your solar installer's contract closely to understand what services they will provide, what the warranty covers and what you can expect about the installation process.

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

The Green Panel

★★★★★
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

What is the average cost of installing solar panels in Columbia?

This is a hard question to answer exactly, because the cost depends on a few different factors. Generally speaking, it costs about $12,950 for a 5-kW system and $25,900 for a 10-kW system after the ITC is applied. You can expect to pay more if you want additional solar equipment or higher quality panels, or if you have above-average energy needs. On the flip side, you can spend less if you go with a smaller solar panel system or less expensive solar panels.

Is it better to lease or buy solar panels in Columbia?

Leasing solar panels can be an option if you can't afford to pay upfront or secure a solar loan, but since you don't own the system, you don't have access to many solar incentives. Also your home value won't increase, so you'll have less savings over time. If you can afford to buy a solar system upfront, then buying is the better option if you want the most financial benefits from going solar.

Is making the switch to solar worth it?

Solar panels can be a fruitful investment for many homeowners, but they might not be worth it for everyone. If your home doesn't get a lot of direct sunlight and/or your power bills are already fairly low, solar panels might not be for you.

How often do you have to replace solar panels?

On average, the lifespan of solar panels is about 25 to 30 years. Some even last up to 50 years, but their efficiency goes down by about 0.8% each year. You can choose to replace them sooner if you want to maintain a higher level of energy production.

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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