Missouri Solar Panel Buyers Guide [Installation & Efficiency 2022]

Here’s what we’ll cover in this guide to Missouri solar panels:

  • How to go solar in Missouri
  • How much energy solar panels In MO typically produce
  • What perks are available to make solar equipment more affordable
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How to Get Solar Panels in Missouri

The first step you’ll need to take when going solar in MO is to contact an installer in your area. You’ll speak with a sales representative who will review your energy needs — via your past electric bills — and likely send a technician out to inspect your roof. Then the company will provide a free quote along with a proposed system design.

Once you approve the design, the company will pull permits for the system from your local jurisdiction and the installation will begin. Finally, your solar array will be commissioned (turned on) and will begin generating solar electricity for your home.

Installing a solar array is usually a prudent decision in MO. Not only will you be able to take advantage of a number of incentives including a sizable solar tax credit, you’ll also reduce your reliance on fossil fuels and your carbon footprint and save an average of over $18,000 on your energy bills.

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SunPower

Best National Provider

Nationwide Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost

Pros

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

Cons

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

Best Solar Financing

Regional Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost

Pros

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

Cons

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

Best Warranty Coverage

Regional Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost

Pros

  • Industry-leading warranty coverage
  • Expansive service area

Cons

  • Some reported communication issues
  • No leases or PPAs

What Is the Price of Solar Panel Installation in Missouri?

Solar panels are typically based on the number of watts or kilowatts installed (a kilowatt is a thousand watts). The average cost of solar equipment in MO is around $2.59 per watt, which is below the national average.

Considering that the typical system size in the area needs to be around 10.5 kilowatts (kW) to handle energy needs, you’re looking at a total system cost of around $19,000. Keep in mind that this figure assumes you can take the entire Residential Clean Energy Credit.

The amount of time required for energy savings to offset the cost of installing solar is called the panel payback period. For most Missourians who install solar, the panel payback period is 13 years. After that point, energy savings will continue to accrue and save you an additional $18,000 over the lifespan of the system.

For more panel cost information or more personalized estimates, you can check out our solar panel cost guide for MO.

The Best Solar Panel Brands Available in Missouri

Although MO is below the U.S. average in terms of statewide solar adoption, the local solar industry is still quite healthy. Most major solar manufacturers serve MO residents and provide equipment throughout The Show Me State.

MO receives plenty of sunshine, so high-efficiency panels typically aren’t required. However, most residents opt for panel brands with lengthy warranties, as extreme weather events like tornadoes can put panels at risk of damage.

Below are some of the most popular panel brands in MO:

  • SunPower (Maxeon)
  • Panasonic
  • LG (soon to be discontinued)
  • Tesla
  • REC
  • Qcells
  • Canadian Solar

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Is Missouri a Good State for Solar Panels?

Missouri is considered a great place to go solar. There are a few factors that make panels more valuable here than in many other states. We’ll touch on each of these factors below.

  • Plenty of sunshine: One of the first things to consider when deciding if solar is a good option in your area is the average amount of sunlight it gets. Homeowners in MO see around 206 sunny days per year, which is right around the national average.1 This is plenty of sun to make solar conversion well worth it, and it’s usually enough for residents to offset their energy bills and experience big savings.
  • Below-average equipment costs: The average cost per watt for solar equipment in the U.S. is $2.66, but MO residents pay an average of $2.59. Naturally, more affordable equipment brings conversion costs down, which means you get more bang for your buck in terms of equipment, production and energy savings.
  • Missouri solar incentives: Although the solar industry in MO is still developing, the state does have several solar benefit programs in place that make solar conversion more affordable, appealing and lucrative in the long run. We’ll discuss specifics later on in this article.
  • Above-average energy needs: Although MO residents pay relatively low electricity rates, they use an average of 1,028 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity every month.2 This is well in excess of the national average. Higher energy consumption usually means above-average energy bills, which, in turn, means your panels have greater opportunity to save you money.

How Much Energy Can I Get From Solar Panels in Missouri?

Solar panel systems generate varying levels of electricity based on several factors that make it challenging to estimate how much a system will produce without conducting an inspection of your property.

missouri solar panels

Below, we’ll discuss these factors and the impact they have on your generation rates.

  • The panel brand you install: If you’ve already done some research on solar panel brands, you’ve likely encountered the term “efficiency rating.” This is a measure of how much of the sunlight that hits your panels can be absorbed by the solar module and converted to energy. The higher the rating on the panels you install, the greater your energy production rates will be.
  • How much sun hits your roof: One of the reasons a property inspection is required to estimate your solar production is that shading on your roof has a massive impact on panel production. If the sunlight is impeded at any point during the day — especially during peak sunlight hours — your energy efficiency will dip significantly. Homes with shading from trees, electrical poles or lines or other buildings will see lower efficiency levels from their photovoltaic (PV) equipment.
  • The direction your home faces: Solar irradiance is another important factor to consider. This is a measure of the intensity of the sunlight that hits a given area. The more direct and intense sunlight your panels receive, the more electricity they will generate. In North America, south-facing roofs are the best for solar conversion because they point toward the path of the sun in the sky.3 Therefore, south-facing panels will produce the most energy.
  • Local weather conditions: Solar production varies from state to state in large part because of the weather. Cloudy days can drop your efficiency by up to 90%, so areas that receive a lot of sunlight are best suited for solar. Local weather conditions are taken into consideration when estimating production for specific locations within MO.
  • The size of your solar array: Finally, the number of panels you install — which dictates the size of your solar power system — will determine the maximum amount of energy your system can produce. Provided all other factors remain equal, larger systems will always generate more energy.

A property inspection and an evaluation of your electric bill are required for an accurate estimate of how much energy solar panels on your home would produce. However, you can use the chart below to see the typical expected rate of generation for different system sizes common in MO.

Solar Power System Size Expected Daily Energy Produced Expected Monthly Energy Produced Expected Annual Energy Produced
8 kW 26.6 kWh 800 kWh 9,600 kWh
9 kW 30 kWh 900 kWh 10,800 kWh
10 kW 33.3 kWh 1,000 kWh 12,000 kWh
11 kW 36.6 kWh 1,100 kWh 13,200 kWh
12 kW 40 kWh 1,200 kWh 14,400 kWh
13 kW 43.3 kWh 1,300 kWh 15,600 kWh
14 kW 46.6 kWh 1,400 kWh 16,800 kWh

You can also use our solar estimates calculator to see how much electricity a solar array on your specific home would be expected to produce.

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Solar Panel Policy History in Missouri

The state of Missouri began passing pro-solar legislation back in 1979, just a few years later than the early-adoption states started incentivizing solar conversion. The initial incentive was not financial and instead protected the right of all MO residents to install and enjoy solar.

This policy came in the form of solar easements and rights laws, which prohibit governing bodies like homeowners associations (HOAs) from preventing solar conversion.

The next pro-solar policy — the net metering program — didn’t come until 2007, but this policy is one of the most rewarding for those installing solar systems. It lets you accumulate credits for energy you produce with your panels but don’t use and offset future energy bills with them. 

The program was mandated in MO for systems up to 100 kW, which includes virtually all residential systems. Unfortunately, the state didn’t mandate that energy be credited at the retail rate, so most utility companies use a less-beneficial avoided cost rate.

In 2008, the Missouri Clean Energy Act was passed and set the state’s first Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) goal. The goal was for at least 15% of the state’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources by 2021. This included a 2% carve-out specifically for solar.

solar panels Missouri

In response to the RPS goal, several of the state’s larger electric companies began offering rebates for their solar customers. These included:

  • Up to a $500 rebate per kW for Columbia Water & Light customers
  • Up to a $1,000 rebate per kW for Kansas City Power & Light customers
  • Up to a $2,000 rebate per kW for Empire District Electric customers
  • Varying rebates from Ameren Missouri

Two years later, in 2010, MO initiated a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program. This program provided affordable and accessible financing options to prospective solar customers.

This is a great option, since a cash purchase is out of reach for many solar customers. PACE financing can also be a great alternative to solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs), which generally aren’t as beneficial as solar loans. Perks include low interest rates and long loan terms for easy panel payback.

Finally, the state began offering a property tax exemption for solar equipment in 2013. This exemption prevented property taxes from increasing in response to the bump in home value expected from installing photovoltaic equipment.

What Are the Solar Panel Incentives in Missouri?

MO provides several benefit programs to solar customers to promote conversion. These help make solar more accessible and also increase the value residents enjoy when installing PV equipment. We’ll discuss the available federal and state incentives below.

  • Residential Clean Energy Credit: This federal tax credit is applied to your income tax burden to help you save money on your home solar system installation. The credit is for 30% of your entire PV system cost, with no limit. In MO, the credit comes out to an average of over $8,100. All solar equipment is eligible for this credit, including panels, inverters and solar batteries.
  • Net metering: This is a billing policy offered by utility companies that gives you credit for generating more energy with your solar system than you use  and then using the credit to offset future utility bills. This policy is helpful for maximizing the value of your panels as well as your long-term energy savings. Missouri mandates that you’re credited for unused electricity on an avoided cost basis, which isn’t as good as the retail basis, but it’s better than having no net metering at all.
  • Utility-specific rebates for solar equipment: As mentioned above, several of the larger utility companies in MO provide solar rebates to help reduce the up-front cost of going solar. Columbia Water & Light, Kansas City Power & Light and Empire District Electric all offer solar rebate programs.
  • PACE financing: PACE financing helps homeowners throughout MO get affordable financing for renewable energy equipment. The program offers low interest rates and low- and no-money-down options to make solar conversion more accessible.
  • Property tax exemption: Solar conversion is expected to raise your home value by around 4.1%.4 Other value-boosting home improvements will also bump up your property taxes, but this exemption prevents that from happening with solar installations.

You can read more about how these benefits will affect you and your solar energy system cost, as well as other local perks available, by checking out our complete guide to MO solar incentives.

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Find a Local Installer in Missouri

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), there are nearly 40 solar companies servicing MO.5 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.

Blog author image
Dan Simms, Home Improvement Expert
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.