The “solar power sun” continues to shine on Missouri. In 2008, Missourians voted to add solar energy to the source list for its electric utility services, with the goal that the percentage of total power output derived from solar power would grow over time. Between 2011 and 2013, the total output of the state’s utilities companies included two percent of solar energy. The state is now in phase two of the program and is creating solar power systems that will provide solar power equaling five percent of the state’s total energy output by the end of 2017. The next goals to be achieved are 10 percent by the end of 2020, and 15 percent by the end of 2021.
As a Missouri citizen, you’ve already invested in the solar power industry via your tax dollars. As a home and business owner, there are incentives available to encourage you to invest even more.
Missouri’s sunshine rate exceeds Germany’s
There is no shortage of sunshine to convert to solar power as the state ramps up its solar power capacity. According to Missouri’s Department of Economic Development, Missouri has an average of 200 days per year of sunshine, with an average of 4.5 to 5.0 kilowatt hours (kWh) per square meter per day. That exceeds Germany’s solar resource of less than 3.0 kWh per square meter per day, and Germany leads the world in solar energy production. Kansas City has an annual average of 4.74 units of solar radiation (kWh/mÂ²/day), so it is well suited for solar industrial expansion. Clearly, Missouri is banking on solar energy to provide a significant proportion of its energy resources within the next six years.
Missouri rebates and tax incentives
As an incentive to encourage individual Missourians to invest in solar power, the state authorized a rebate to be paid to utility users whose privately owned solar power plants contribute electricity back into the utility power grid. Known as “distributed generation,” the solar power system is connected to the utility grid. When using solar energy, the home does not pull power from the grid. When the solar power system produces more energy than the home can use, that excess energy is sent back into the grid to be used by other utility customers. When the solar power system doesn’t produce enough energy, the home can tap into the grid and will be billed for the energy is consumed. The rebate is scheduled to be phased out over time and has been so popular that its funding has been consumed for this phase.
In 2008, the Missouri legislature allowed 100 percent tax deductions for the costs of home energy audits and any implementation of energy conservation activities as recommended by those audits. In December 2014, the legislature extended the deductions through Dec. 31, 2020.
This program provides government support of solar through loans that are fixed to the property and are paid off over time, like a mortgage. It allows long-term financing for the purchase and installation of solar power systems for homes and businesses. The solar power system attaches to the physical site and is sold (along with any outstanding debt) when the building transfers ownership.
The federal government offers a rebate of 30 percent of the purchase cost for any solar power system. This incentive is responsible for thousands of home and business solar installations across the country. It is scheduled to expire in December 2016, but there is strong national pressure to extend it.
Homeowners and businesses can both access solar power systems
Solar power systems are “scalable” — they can be as small or as large as is necessary and affordable. Solar panels encompass solar cells, which gather sunlight and convert it into DC electric current. Inverters convert the electricity into AC, so it can be used by today’s appliances and equipment. The size of the panel and the number of panels (an “array”) will determine both the amount of electrical generation capacity and the cost of installation.
Additionally, utility grade solar is often coming in the form of concentrating solar power (CSP) facilities. These utility-sized plants use mirrors to focus large amounts of solar energy. The captured solar energy can drive traditional steam turbines and create electricity that can be stored for later use. In the U.S., more than 1,400 MW of CSP capacity has been installed, with another 390 MW expected to come online this year. Missouri is not yet investing in this promising solar fuel methodology.
RGS brings its 37-year history of solar power innovation to work in Missouri. Working with homeowners, businesses, schools and governments, RGS has installed more than 235 MW of clean energy capacity across the country. In Missouri, RGS has installed thousands of panels and is comprehensive on all aspects of the state’s solar investment policies, including permitting, siting, rebates and incentives. Because Missouri has a lot invested in its solar energy capacity already and plans to increase that even more in the near future, motivated home and business owners can take advantage of early bird purchasing and installation opportunities. And they’ll save money and the environment, too. For an estimate of what it will cost to solar power your home, visit RGSEnergy.com.