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 about resident’s solar rights and also conduct detailed research to see if this renewable energy technology is right for you.


Keep in mind: Efficiency First! When you work on energy efficiency first, you will spend less on PV and offset more of your electrical usage. Also, to take advantage of our PV loan program, the home must meet minimum insulation requirements. If you have questions about the efficiency of your home, we offer Free Energy Audits to all of our electric customers.

 Please submit your net metering agreement and rebate application.

How big a system do I need and how much does Solar PV cost?

The cost of your PV system will depend on the size, efficiency, and complexity of the system and its components. You should consult with an approved Water & Light Solar PV installation contractor for more accurate cost and rebate estimates.

How big? – In one year in Missouri, 1 kW of solar panels will offset about 1,300 kWh of electricity use. From your annual electric usage (kWh) you can determine how much you want to offset with solar PV. You can offset up to 100% of your average usage.

What might it cost? – In 2016, the average cost, not including rebates or other incentives, to install 1kW of solar PV in Columbia was $3,250.

What about incentives? – Until 2020, the Federal government will provide a tax credit for 30% of your costs associated with solar PV. Additionally, Columbia Water & Light provides rebates for PV systems. A qualifying system under 10 kW would be eligible for rebates between $375 – $625 per kW. We also provide PV system loans up to $15,000 for residential and $30,000 for commercial.

Getting started with Solar in Columbia

See how we do residential solar in this video demonstration, then follow these steps:

1. Educate yourself: Study PV systems and evaluate your energy consumption history. This will give you an idea of what type will work best for your location, the size and cost of the system.

2. Choose your contractor: Contact several PV installation contractors. Columbia Water & Light maintains a list of PV contractors who meet our program requirements. It is important to ask the contractors for references, licenses, and certifications.

3. Review the parameters of the rebate program: Review the net metering and rebate guidelines with your contractor.

4. Fill out and submit the Interconnection & Net Metering Agreement: A letter will be sent from Columbia Water & Light approving your PV project and notifying you of the rebate funds reserved for your project. Projects not completed within six months of approval must be resubmitted and lose their place in the rebate process.

5. Permits, installation and inspection: After approval from Columbia Water & Light, your contractor must obtain an electrical permit from Building and Site Development (BSD). After the PV installation is complete, contact BSD to schedule final code inspection for your electrical permit.  Upon receiving electric code approval from BSD, contact Columbia Water & Light at (573) 874-7325 and schedule a rebate inspection.

6. Finalize your rebate: Your rebate will be finalized at the time of inspection by Columbia Water & Light staff. All invoices for the PV system, final approved code inspection and a copy of the insurance certificate, if required, must be submitted. If you were notified your project was placed on a waiting list for rebate funds, the rebate will be processed as funds become available.

Info for Contractors
email to request the template SAM file and to apply to be an approved solar PV installation contractor. Review our PV rebate guidelines and complete a copy of the net metering and interconnection agreement.
Training video, help documents, and more coming soon.