Cost of solar panels in Missouri

How much is it to go solar in 2024?

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tech fixing solar panels on the roof of a house in Missouri

The average cost to install solar panels is $27,195 in Missouri before the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC). The price drops to $19,037 after using the full ITC.

Going solar in the Show Me State is about 14% more expensive than the national average. The out-of-pocket investment might be higher than in other states, but a national tax credit, state rebates and low-interest solar loans can make going solar within your reach.


Key insights

  • The average cost per watt is $2.82 in Missouri.
  • The average payback period in Missouri is 10 years if you pay for your system upfront.
  • Missouri homeowners with solar panels save an estimated $18,292 over 25 years.

How much do solar panels cost in Missouri?

Installing residential solar panels can cost between $10,000 to $30,000 or more, though individual costs vary. On average, residents of Missouri pay $27,195 for their system before using the federal solar investment tax credit.

The size of your system can play a big factor in how much you pay overall. Not surprisingly, smaller systems tend to be cheaper. The average size of solar systems in Missouri is 10.5 kilowatts (kW).

Average cost by system size in Missouri

Source: EcoWatch

Are solar panels worth it in Missouri?

We’ve talked to dozens of Missouri residents who made the switch to solar. Overall, the reviews are somewhat mixed. Many tell us it’s worth it for the cost savings. Others are frustrated by misleading information from solar sales reps and poor follow-up from companies after installation.

Christopher in Alton told us he’s happy about going solar: “I'm producing more electricity than I'm using. So, it's working out well. I even got an electric bill for $0 this month.”

However, Madelyn in St. Louis isn’t saving as much as anticipated. “I’m paying two bills — the electric bill and the solar bill,” she explained. “The solar bill is not that large right now. But I’m still paying the electric bill so I really don't see the difference.”

For some, like Xander in Columbia, the environmental benefits alone make solar worth it. “I am very pro-environmental, and this step felt necessary to take as someone who believes that way,” Xander told us. “I appreciate the lack of guilt I now experience when I flip on the light or use the microwave. The sun is creating this electricity, not some coal burning somewhere.”

Whether it’s worth it for you financially depends on a range of factors (your current energy usage, the condition of your roof, how much sunlight you get, etc.). If you decide to invest in solar panels, it’s important to have realistic expectations and really understand the terms of your contract before committing to a solar energy system.

» STILL NOT SURE? Solar pros and cons

Cost factors of going solar in Missouri

How much you pay for your solar system isn’t just dependent on where you live. It also depends on what kind of equipment you purchase, how you pay and other factors.

Size of your system

You can easily determine what size system you need. First, find out the amount of electricity you used in the last year in kilowatt-hours (kWh).

You’ll find this information through your electric bill’s online account dashboard. Then, divide your annual kWh by 1,200 to find the system size you need. For example, the typical Missouri household uses 12,468 kWh per year. Using this formula, the typical household would need a 10-kW system.

» WATT’S THE DIFFERENCE? kW vs. kWh

Solar equipment costs

When you think of solar equipment, you probably think of solar panels. In Missouri, solar panels are typically priced around $2.59 per watt (this can vary depending on the brand and efficiency). Panels are just part of the equation, though. Here are some average costs you can expect for panels and other equipment:

Condition of your roof

Solar panels last around 25 to 30 years, so your roof will need to go the distance. The size and weight of the panels are a lot, especially on a roof that isn’t prepared for the load. To prepare, get a roof inspection and repairs before getting solar. This helps prevent the extra cost of having to remove the panels to repair the roof and then have them reinstalled later on.

» SHOULD YOU: Replace your roof before going solar?

How you pay

There are various ways to pay for a solar panel system:

  • Cash purchase: An upfront payment for the entire system in cash is the easiest and most affordable way to go.
  • Solar loans: Solar loans let you finance your solar system through a lender. Many states, like Missouri, offer low-interest loan options to save you money.
  • Solar lease: When you lease solar panels, you’re basically renting the equipment. There’s usually a small upfront payment (if any).
  • Power purchase agreement: With a power purchase agreement (PPA), a company owns and installs the solar panels. You agree to purchase the electricity generated by the panels at a fixed rate.

» SOLAR PANELS: Lease vs. buy

Other solar cost factors

Here are some other costs to watch out for:

  • Permits: Your town will probably require permits for installing solar. This can add to the overall cost of your system by several hundred dollars.
  • Installation and labor: You may not have to worry about this one. Most companies fold the cost of solar installation and labor into your quote, but be sure to check before signing a contract.
  • Maintenance: Solar panels require minimal maintenance, but you may run into some added costs for the repair or replacement of components through the years. You’ll also need to pay for periodic cleaning.

» TIPS: How to get the best solar quotes

Solar incentives, tax credits and rebates in Missouri

The federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is the biggest factor in reducing the cost of going solar in Missouri. If you install a residential solar panel system by the end of 2032, you can deduct 30% of the system's total cost — including equipment, labor and permits — from your federal taxes. The credit drops to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034.

The average ITC value in Missouri is $8,158 in 2023.

Missouri also offers solar rebates through local utility companies. These can help you receive hundreds of dollars in savings. You can also get a low-interest solar loan in Missouri through the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program.

» EXPLORE: Missouri solar incentives

Compare solar installation companies in Missouri

Compare popular solar companies available in Missouri below. Read our guide to the best solar companies for more.

Do you own or rent?

FAQ

How are solar costs trending in Missouri?

The cost to go solar in Missouri has fallen 43% over the last 10 years, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Can I get free solar panels in Missouri?

You can lease or enter a PPA with little to no upfront costs. Still, neither is totally free. Solar leases generally require a flat monthly fee; PPAs make you pay per unit of electricity.

» FREE SOLAR PANELS: Are they really free?

How much can I save with solar panels?

When you pay cash, the average 25-year savings with solar is $18,292 in Missouri. It’s a misconception that solar panels always completely eliminate your monthly power bill. You can expect to offset your electricity bill in Missouri by 71% to 96%, according to EnergySage.

» EXPLORE: Where solar savings go the furthest

How does net metering work in Missouri?

Net metering allows you to exchange the surplus power generated by your solar panels with your electric company. In Missouri, net metering is available for solar setups that are 100 kW or smaller. The extra electricity you provide to the grid is compensated with credits on the following month's electric bill.

» COMPARE: Best solar monitoring systems

Is it cheaper to install solar panels myself?

It’s potentially cheaper to install solar panels yourself, but it’s also difficult and dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing, especially for a large residential project.

» DIY solar panels: Pros and cons

Will hail damage my solar panels?

Yes, hail can damage solar panels, but you shouldn’t let that deter you from installing them. The cost of fixing any damage that does occur may be covered by your homeowners insurance. Also, most brands of solar panels are made to withstand smaller hail, which is common in Missouri.

Bottom line

Solar in Missouri costs, on average, around $27,195. The ITC is good for around $8,158 of that price through a tax credit, and the rebate incentives from Missouri utility companies can make your new system even cheaper. Don’t forget to look into low-interest PACE solar loans if you can’t pay all of that money upfront.

» GUIDE: Solar panel installation

Solar costs: Missouri vs. nearby states

*Before the federal investment tax credit (ITC); **When you pay in full upfront

Article sources
ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
  1. EcoWatch, “How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Missouri?” Accessed Nov. 4, 2023.
  2. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics.” Accessed Nov. 4, 2023.
  3. Solar Energy Industries Association, “Missouri Solar.” Accessed Nov. 4, 2023.
  4. DSIRE, “Missouri Solar Programs.” Accessed Nov. 4, 2023.
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