Columbia Water & Light provides rebates based on the overall capacity of a PV system (kW) as well as its energy production (kWh) during “peak” times. Peak times are periods of high system demand when electricity is most expensive for Water & Light to provide to its customers and normally occur on hot summer afternoons and evenings.
A net meter can measure electricity flowing to the utility from a customer’s renewable energy system on sunny days when a customer is producing more energy than they are using. It can also reverse its direction to measure the amount of electricity used by the customer that is supplied by the utility. At the end of the month, the customer is billed for the difference or the ‘net’ amount of electricity used over the month’s time.
Before you install a PV system, be aware that there are several obstacles that may lesson its effectiveness.
Which way your roof is facing will determine what part of the day your solar panels will be most exposed to the sun.
South facing PV systems are traditionally the most popular, because they have the highest potential to capture solar energy throughout the day.
However, south facing systems also produce the most energy at a time when demand is the lowest.
Columbia Water & Light offers premium rebates for west facing systems which produce the most during high-peak times.
Even though you can still get solar on cloudy days, prolonged shading will impede your solar production. If your panels are obstructed by trees, buildings or anything else, or may be obstructed within their 25 year life cycle, check first if you will be able to clear the path for your panels (for example, tree-trimming). If your PV will be shaded, installing your own units may not be the most effective option.
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.
What is my home’s solar potential? – Call one of our solar contractors for an evaluation.
Learn more about community solar in Columbia, or follow these six steps for installing your own solar system:
- 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.
- 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.
- Review the parameters of the rebate program: Review the net metering and rebate guidelines with your contractor.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Missouri residents’ solar rights are protected by Missouri state statutes. Specifically, property rights opens in a new window and net metering. For information about the Solar Industry in Missouri, visit the Division of Energy’s website. For rebates from Columbia Water & Light, using one of our approved PV installation contractors is required. When choosing a solar contractor it is important to ask the contractor for references, licenses, and certifications. For further information about tax credits available for solar energy systems, please review the Energy Star tax credit information.