Your Guide to Solar Panels in Missouri: 7 Steps to Solar Panels in Missouri

Missouri is ranked 34th in the country for solar adoption by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). While it’s not the most popular state for conversion, most residents save an average of over $18,000 by switching to solar.1 Plus, the state has outstanding solar incentive programs and solar rebate programs available to help make the conversion more accessible.

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Solar isn’t ideal for everyone, but most homeowners find that installing solar is beneficial in Missouri especially in the long run. While initial shock can come from the price of the average solar system installation cost in MO reaching around $27,195 before any tax credits. Rest assured there are plenty of opportunities to bring that number down through different incentives.

With federal solar incentives, though, you can expect to get your total costs down to $19,037, and MO solar rebates and tax credits will bring that number down even further. Solar panels pay for themselves in around 13 years in Missouri, on average, and then save an additional $18,292 for most residents.

In this guide, we’ll be walking through the process of how to go solar in Missouri, from the initial research phase through installation and solar monitoring for the following decades. You can also use the links below to jump to a specific section for more information.

Step 1: What to Consider When Buying Solar Panels

Step 2: Getting a Quote from a Solar Provider

Step 3: Signing a Solar Contract

Step 4: What to Expect on Solar Panel Installation Day

Step 5: Final Inspection for Installed Solar Panels

Step 6: Permission to Operate (PTO)

Step 7: Sit Back and Enjoy Your Solar Energy

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Best National Provider

Nationwide Service

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Average cost


  • Most efficient panels on the market
  • National coverage
  • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Great warranty coverage


  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer
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Blue Raven Solar

Best Solar Financing

Regional Service

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  • Industry-leading in-house financing
  • Competitive pricing
  • Excellent reputation


  • Doesn't offer solar batteries (coming 2022)
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ADT Solar

Best Warranty Coverage

Regional Service

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  • Industry-leading warranty coverage
  • Expansive service area


  • Some reported communication issues
  • No leases or PPAs

Step 1: What to Consider When Buying Solar Panels in Missouri

Going solar in the Show-Me State is usually a great financial decision, with panels paying for themselves and beyond for most residents. However, we recommend following the steps laid out in the below sections to ensure that solar panels will benefit you and your property, specifically, before converting.

Research If Solar Panels Are a Good Fit For You in Missouri

Solar is a great option for most Missourians, but you really need to do some research and dissect how beneficial converting will be for you and your specific property.

First off, we recommend getting an estimate of how many photovoltaic (PV) panels you need. You can use our solar calculator to figure out approximately what size system will suit your property. The calculator takes your location, roof slope direction and shading into account by using satellite imagery and local sun exposure measurements.

Next, you should consider the weather in your part of Missouri. The state as a whole sees an average of 206 sunny days annually.2 This is just above the national average, which means most residents see plenty of sunlight to make solar conversion worthwhile. But you may need solar panels that work best in cloudy weather, depending on where you live.

If the average sunny days per year in your city is above that state average, you’re in good shape. Below-average sun exposure will mean lower production, but most areas see plenty of sunlight to make solar adoption a good choice. Even states that see 180 days or fewer still typically see a benefit from solar conversion.

Consider Net Metering and Other Solar Incentives

Another consideration for most U.S. residents is access to net metering, or net energy metering (NEM). NEM is a billing policy that lets you send excess energy your panels produce to the grid for credits that can be applied to future utility bills. Ultimately, net metering helps maximize the value you see from your system and minimize long-term costs.

Thankfully, Missouri homeowners don’t have to worry about NEM. Despite the state’s lackluster Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) goal, the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) mandates the policy for all public utility providers. Moreover, the PSC sets the credit rate at the full retail rate per kilowatt-hour (kWh), which is an amazing solar incentive for Missouri residents.

Companies like Ameren, the Empire District Electric Company (Liberty), Kansas City Power & Light (now Evergy Missouri Metro) and Evergy Missouri West all are required to offer you a credit at the retail rate for each kWh you overproduce. This could change if the RPS goal is met or abandoned in the future.

The table below includes a quick breakdown of some solar stats for conversion in Missouri and a look at how they compare to the same stats for the country as a whole. These figures illustrate how beneficial solar is in your state as a whole.

Missouri State Average United States National Average
Solar Power System Size Required 10.5 kW 9 kW
Typical Cost Per Watt to Install Photovoltaic (PV) Equipment $2.59 $2.66
Average Total System Cost Before Federal Solar Income Tax Credit $27,195 $23,940
Average Federal Solar Tax Credit Value $8,159 $7,182
Average Total System Cost After Federal Credit $19,037 $16,758
Average Panel Payback Period 13 years 12 years
Average Lifetime Savings of Converting to Solar $18,292 $22,379

Research How to Finance Solar Panels

Once you’ve determined that solar is a good option for your home, you can start looking into the payment option that fits your budget and expectations.

We recommend starting by figuring out how many PV panels you need to offset your electric bills. You can use the EcoWatch solar calculator to get an accurate estimate of system size and then multiply the watts you require by $2.59. That should give you around the total investment you’ll need to make to satisfy your energy demands with solar electricity.

For reference, the average cost to go solar in MO is around $19,037 after the federal investment tax credit (ITC). More important than the cost, though, is how much you’ll save on your energy bills over time. The average lifetime savings in the area total $18,292 for a cash purchase.

There are four solar financing options available: cash payments, solar loans, solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs). We’ll provide a quick breakdown of these options below to help you decide which is best for you.

  • Cash purchase: With this payment option, you pay the entire cost upfront, which is not realistic for many homeowners. However, it provides you with the lowest long-term cost since you won’t be paying interest, and it offers the shortest solar panel payback period.
  • Solar loan: Taking out a loan for your solar system means you’ll pay a bit more in the long run because of the interest added to the conversion cost. However, a loan comes with significantly lower upfront costs, making conversion much more accessible. This financing option still gives you access to the ITC and all other incentives.
  • Solar lease: A lease arrangement means you pay a monthly rental fee for PV equipment, and you get to use all of the energy those panels generate. Leases never lead to panel ownership, so there’s no break-even point where savings start to skyrocket. As such, long-term savings are below average. Plus, you cannot take the federal tax credit if you lease.
  • Power Purchase Agreement (PPA): In a PPA, your panels are installed at no upfront cost, making the option highly accessible. You then agree to buy the solar energy the panels generate from your installer. This financing option prevents you from taking the federal tax incentive, and it never leads to panel ownership.

Missouri residents also have access to some state-specific financing options, which we’ll explain briefly below:

  • Show Me Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing: PACE financing offers an affordable financing option for low-income residents. The down payment requirements are minimal, and the monthly cost for the system is added to the tax bill for easy payment. We generally don’t recommend this option, though, since other loan programs have gotten better and more accessible in recent years.
  • Columbia Water & Light Financing: Customers of Columbia Water & Light can take this financing option for loans up to ten years. The program keeps interest rates and down payment requirements low for affordability.

Step 2: Getting a Quote from a Solar Provider

solar panels MissouriWhen you’ve decided which financing option works for you, you can start looking for a solar contractor in your area to move forward with planning and installation. We’ll detail the process of choosing an installer in the sections below.

Picking a Solar Installer

Of course, your first step in getting a free quote will be choosing a PV panel installation company. Finding an installer is simple in theory but gets quite complicated in practice. Ideally, you want to find a company that offers most or all of the following:

  • At least five years of experience in the local solar industry.
  • NABCEP-certified installers (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners).
  • High-efficiency panel brands with extensive warranty coverage.
  • Prices and payment options that meet your needs.
  • A history of good customer service and positive reviews.
  • No unresolved complaints with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Below are some of the top solar providers in Missouri based on these criteria. You can read more about these companies by checking out our guide to choosing the best solar contractor in MO.

What to Expect After Requesting a Quote

Shortly after you provide your contact information to a solar company, a sales representative should reach out to you to set up a consultation. Most companies offer in-person and virtual options for the consultation. Prior to the meeting, you’ll be asked to provide a copy of a recent electric bill.

During the consultation, you’ll need to provide some personal information, like your address, as well as some information about your current and future energy consumption. You’ll be asked about electric appliances, your heating and cooling equipment, electric vehicles (EVs) and any planned changes to these things in the future.

After the consultation, your home solar project will move into the design phase, and once a system design is created, your sales rep should set up another meeting to discuss the solar proposal. The proposal is your formal estimate and should include the below information:

  • The total size of your system in kilowatts (kW).
  • The total cost of your system before and after Missouri solar incentives.
  • Estimates for how much energy your system will generate.
  • Estimated monthly, annual and lifetime savings.
  • How long your system is expected to take to pay for itself.
  • Drawings or diagrams showing where all of your equipment will be mounted.
  • Fees for permits and inspections.
  • Your payment schedule and information about your financing option.
  • Warranty information.
  • Any fees included for permits or inspections
  • Information about your payment option and when you need to make payments
  • Information about your warranty coverage.

Getting a quote may not cost you anything, but it takes some time. Still, we recommend going through the process with a few different installers. Having multiple free quotes lets you compare and choose the one that works best for you and provides the most value for the money.

Plus, some solar contractors will offer price matching, which means you could end up saving money on your system just by having two to three quotes.

Consider Purchasing Solar Accessories

While you’re working on getting your free quotes is a good time to think about any add-on products you might want for your system. Add-on products are any pieces of equipment other than panels and inverters or microinverters.

We’ll include a quick list of some of the more popular solar add-ons in the state below, along with a brief description of why you might choose them for your home.

  • Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers: EV chargers are one of the most popular add-on products for solar in MO. EVs are becoming increasingly popular in the state, but access to public charging stations is one of the biggest roadblocks to widespread adoption.3 Private EV chargers coupled with PV panels are a great way to make electric vehicles more realistic in the state.
  • Solar carports: Solar carports give you additional space to mount solar panels, taking strain off of your primary structure and letting you install a larger system. Most residents need a 10.5 kW system, which is above average for the country as a whole. Some residents with smaller roofs require additional space for panels, and carports are a good solution.
  • Solar batteries: Solar batteries — like the Tesla Powerwall — are more popular and beneficial in states that don’t have access to net metering. While the net metering policy in MO is strong, the state also sees more power outages than most others.4 Batteries can provide power through blackouts, making them convenient in areas like the Missouri.

Step 3: Signing a Solar Contract in Missouri

missouri solar panelsOnce you decide on the solar company that you believe will suit you and your needs best, you can sign the contract for service to get the ball rolling on installation. We’ll include some information on what you should look for in your contract in the sections below.

How Do Solar Warranties Work in Missouri?

We recommend looking at the solar warranties included in your contract first, as this is a crucial part of getting a favorable arrangement. There are three kinds of solar warranties to look out for, including the following:

  • Equipment warranties: Solar equipment warranties provide protection from manufacturing defects, so they help guarantee your equipment will persist for the several decades that it should. These warranties usually last for 25 years.
  • Efficiency warranties: Efficiency warranties guarantee that your panels won’t lose more than a certain percentage of their original production capabilities over a given time period. The average efficiency warranty guarantees a minimum of 80% of the original efficiency will remain after a period of 20 to 25 years.
  • Workmanship warranties: Workmanship warranties cover the labor involved in the installation, which prevents issues from arising due to poor installation technique or inexperience. These warranties last for an average of ten years. Most don’t include roof leaks, but some of the best ones will also cover leaks. Roof leak protection is nice to have in areas like Missouri, where annual precipitation volume is above the national average.5

When Can I Expect Solar Service to Go Live?

From the day you sign your solar contract to the day your panels start generating power for your home, you’re probably looking at between two and four months. This includes the time it takes for things like system design, parts to be delivered and permits to be issued.

There are some things that can cause delays in the process, including the following:

  • Permitting delays based on how backed up your local building department is.
  • Component availability; panels are usually readily available, but some parts — like Tesla Powerwalls — can be back-ordered for several months.
  • Delays with scheduling or completing final inspections with your energy company or building department.
  • Delays because of your installer being backed up.

Additionally, you may experience brief delays due to weather in Missouri, as installing rooftop solar panels can be dangerous in inclement weather.

Solar Panel Permits in Missouri

No matter where you live in the state, you’ll need permits to be granted before you can move forward with the installation.

Permits are governed by individual building departments, so every municipality can have different requirements, fees and timelines for the permitting process. Most permits for solar adoption in MO will cost between $50 and $300.

For example, Kansas City requires that you follow instructions on Information Bulletin 162, which lays out what’s needed for solar electric system installation approval.6 Kansas City charges a fee based on the total project cost, which averages around $50 for the typical solar array cost.7

Residents in the City of Springfield will pay an average of $92 for the electrical permit required for PV panel installation.8 St. Louis has a base building permit fee of $25, plus $10 per $1,000 in construction. With the average solar panel system cost in the area, that’s a total of around $295.9

In most cases, your installer will include the permit fees in your initial solar quote. The company will also take care of filing for the permits so that you don’t have to, which means you’ll only be responsible for paying the filing fee.

Once the permit is issued and the installation is complete, your building department will need to complete a final inspection to sign off on the job. Some building inspectors will complete a drive-by inspection, while others will need access to your home. Access requirements may also depend on whether or not you have add-ons installed inside your garage.

Inspections are typically free, but if you fail to provide access during the inspection, you may need to pay for an additional inspection. For example, residents in Springfield get charged $100 for the first reinspection, $200 for the second and third and $500 for each subsequent inspection.10

Solar & Utility Interconnection

Interconnection is a crucial part of solar adoption. It’s the process that allows your solar array to send excess power to the grid for NEM credits, and it also lets you supplement your solar production with electricity from the grid when production isn’t sufficient to power your home.

Interconnection is mandatory for net metering and usually requires an application to be filed with your utility provider. They will then need to send an inspector of their own to confirm the connection was made properly before you can activate your system and enjoy net energy metering.

Each electricity provider will have its own requirements for interconnection. We’ll include a breakdown of what’s necessary for some of the largest power providers in Missouri below.

  • Ameren: Ameren requires the Standard Distribution Generation Interconnection Agreement form to be filled out and submitted prior to connecting to the grid.11 There is no fee for applying for interconnection.
  • Empire District Electric Company (Liberty Utilities): Liberty Utilities customers will need to fill out and submit the interconnection application on the company’s website.12 There is no fee for applying.
  • Evergy Missouri Metro: Evergy Metro customers can use the company’s online portal to apply for net energy metering and interconnection.13 Pre-installation and post-installation inspections are also required, along with an engineering review. There are no fees for applying.
  • Evergy Missouri West: Evergy West customers can use the same portal as Metro customers. The process is the same, and there is no fee to apply.

Since applying for interconnection often requires additional inspections, it can extend the time it takes to connect to the grid and have your solar power system up and running. However, since interconnection gives you access to the massively beneficial net energy metering program in MO, it’s well worth the wait and effort it takes to enroll.

Step 4: What to Expect on Solar Panel Installation Day in Missouri

Finally, you’ll get to the day of installation. Your installation team should show up relatively early and begin preparing everything on-site. Solar installations take between six and ten hours in Missouri, on average. This is a bit longer than the national average, as the typical array size is slightly larger.

Most solar customers find themselves asking, “do I need to be home for solar panel installation?” The answer is yes; you should plan on being home for the entire day when your solar installers are on site. They will periodically need access to your home’s interior to install the panels and add-on products, like batteries or EV chargers.

Many installation companies will save time by having the inspection from your utility company for interconnection scheduled for the day of installation. Solar inspections can take around a half hour, on average, so this could extend your installation timeline a bit.

Step 5: Final Inspection for Installed Solar Panels in Missouri

After the installation is completed, your contractor will need to schedule the final inspection with your utility provider — if it wasn’t done on the day of the installation — as well as the final inspection with your building department.

Utility company inspections are required to get your system connected to the grid for net metering, and building department inspections are necessary for closing out your permits. Both are important for maximizing your energy savings and ensuring you’re not left with open permits, which can complicate or prevent the sale of your home in the future.

Inspections shouldn’t cost you anything unless you miss your scheduled appointments. Some municipalities and energy providers will charge you for reinspections, as mentioned earlier.

After the inspections are done, you’ll be responsible for making sure your panels continue to perform as expected. Depending on the brand of panels installed, you may get access to solar monitoring software, as is the case with SunPower and Tesla products. Your installer will usually help you download and connect the mobile app to monitor your system.

Step 6: Permission to Operate (PTO) in Missouri

The last step before your panels can officially produce power for your home and export to the grid is getting permission to operate (PTO) from your utility provider. Following the inspection, PTO verifies that your system was connected safely and can be turned on.

If they haven’t already, your installer should turn on your panels at this point, show you how to disconnect them in case of an emergency and provide you access to solar monitoring software, if applicable.

The only other thing you need to know is whom you should contact in the case of an emergency, like an electrical fire. First, you should call 911. Then, you should report the problem to your local power company. We’ll include emergency numbers for the largest utility companies in the area below so that you have them on hand.

  • Ameren: 1-800-552-7583
  • Empire District Electric Company (Liberty Utilities): 1-800-206-2300
  • Evergy Missouri Metro: 1-888-471-5275
  • Evergy Missouri West: 1-888-471-5275

Step 7: Sit Back and Enjoy Your Solar Energy in Missouri

At this point, all of the hard work is done, and your PV system should be providing renewable energy to your home! You can now sit back, relax and enjoy the savings on your monthly electric bills. Not only is your renewable energy system now saving you money, but it’s also helping you reduce your carbon footprint and emissions.

Most residents will see the biggest value from their PV systems if they reside in their homes for the lifespan of the system. However, you’ll also see an upside even if you sell your property shortly after conversion. The average solar-converted property in Missouri sees a bump in home value of around 4.1%, so converting is usually a financial win no matter what.14

Find a Local Installer in Missouri

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), there are nearly 40 solar companies servicing MO.15 Choosing a solar installer is a big decision that affects your system costs, the warranty coverage that comes with your system and what panel brands are available to you.

Since going solar is such a big decision, we’ll include some links below to reviews of  top solar companies in several of MO’s major cities.

Aerial view of Columbia, MO
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Columbia

MO State Capitol in Jefferson City
Credit: Steven Martin / Flickr

Best Solar Providers in Jefferson City

Location of Liberty in Clay County, MO
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Liberty

Street view in St Charles, MO
Credit: Paul Sableman / Flickr

Best Solar Providers in St. Charles

Stunning aerial view of St Louis, MO
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in St Louis

Photo inside Chesterfield Mall in MO
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Chesterfield

View of Independence, MO from above
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Independence

Night shot of downtown Kansas City
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Kansas City

Street view of historic Springfield, MO
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Springfield

Pond in St Peters City Centre Park
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in St. Peters


For more general recommendations — like regional or national solar providers — or for company recommendations in other MO cities, you can read through our list of the best solar installers in Missouri.

FAQ: Solar Panels in Missouri

Below, we’ll answer some of the most common questions we get asked from Missourians about how to go solar and what to expect throughout the process.

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Article author
Dan Simms is an experienced writer with a passion for renewable energy. As a solar and EV advocate, much of his work has focused on the potential of solar power and deregulated energy, but he also writes on related topics, like real estate and economics. In his free time — when he's not checking his own home's solar production — he enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, skiing and rock climbing.
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Expert reviewer
Kristina Zagame is a journalist, editor and content writer with expertise in solar and other energy-related topics. Before joining EcoWatch, Kristina was a TV news reporter and producer, covering a wide variety of topics including West Coast wildfires and hurricane relief efforts. Kristina’s reporting has taken her all over the U.S., as well as to Puerto Rico and Chile.