Solar Energy Systems

Solar Energy Systems

Thinking of installing a solar or photovoltaic (PV) system to generate electricity? Columbia Water & Light encourages you to review this basic information and also conduct detailed research to see if this renewable energy technology is right for you. In Missouri, residents’ solar rights are protected in the state statutes. Check out our guidelines to see if installing a photovoltaic system is a good fit for your home, and watch our video for an overview of how a PV system installed in Columbia and how it is set up for net metering.

NOTE: Photovoltaic rebate funding has been allocated for the year (Oct. 2016 – Sept. 2017). Please submit your rebate and net metering application to be placed on the rebate waiting list in case additional funding becomes available.

What is the cost of a solar energy system?

Costs of PV equipment are dependent on the type of system, where it is installed, the efficiency rating, the manufacturer/retailer and labor costs. Equipment costs make solar produced electricity more expensive than electricity purchased from Columbia Water & Light. A two kilowatt system installed in Columbia is estimated to cost around $7,000. After deducting a $1,800 federal tax rebate and a $1,000 Columbia Water & Light rebate the final cost would be $4,200. A one kilowatt rated solar energy system in Columbia generally produces between 1,200 and 1,400 kilowatt hours in one year. In this example, a two kilowatt system would produce between 2,400 and 2,800 kilowatt hours a year for the $4,600 investment.

Analyzing your site for solar

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s PVWatts Calculator that can help you with designing a photovoltaic system and reviewing the economics of the project.

Selecting a solar contractor

There are a number of national agencies that keep lists of solar contractors that can be obtained through the Internet or over the phone. The Division of Energy for the state also has resources for installing solar.  It is important to ask the contractor for references, licenses, and certifications. Columbia Water & Light cannot endorse any PV system contractors.


Tax Credits

Until 2020, the Federal government offers a tax credit for installing a solar system for up to 30% of the cost. Consult with your accountant or check the Energy Star website for more information.


Columbia Water & Light offers rebates on qualifying interconnected solar electric systems. The rebate structure and application process will be changing as of August 1, 2017. Click here for more details.

Net Metering

Columbia Water & Light will pay the customer’s current applicable electric rate for the electricity generated by the customer’s solar energy system that is delivered to Columbia Water & Light.

Columbia Water & Light also offers a loan program for solar systems. Visit our solar energy loans page for more information.