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Best Solar Panel Installation Companies in Missouri

Looking for a solar panel installer in the Show-Me State? We've got a list of the best installation companies and the incentives that can give you a financial boost.

The companies providing quotes may differ from those described in our independent reviews.
The sun peeks over the top of the St. Louis skyline, including the Gateway Arch.

Missouri's solar power industry is growing as solar panel prices drop and incentives increase.

Mike Kline/Getty Images

Missouri may lag other states in solar energy adoption, but the industry is growing quickly, with residential installations leading the charge. It's proof that solar can help you save on your bills and help the environment. If that's not enough, falling prices for solar panels, new financial incentives and the fact that solar installations in the state have more than tripled since 2014 might tip the balance for you if you live in the Show-Me State.

Unlike some states, the Missouri's laws around solar panels have changed little in more than a decade, according to James Owen, executive director of Renew Missouri, a clean energy advocacy group. "It hasn't really created a robust industry here, but it is an industry that is moving in the right direction," Owen told CNET.

There are some important incentives to take advantage of to lower the cost of your solar panel system in Missouri. The major federal tax credit that provides a 30% rebate on the cost of any clean energy installations to your home is available to all US residents. Additionally, while Missouri doesn't have strong state-level incentives, there is a net metering policy. This allows you to send your excess energy generated by your solar panels to the grid to get credits on your bill.


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Of course, deciding to go solar is just one step in the process. You also have to pick a solar installer, which can be tricky. Here's what to know if you're considering getting solar panels and you live in Kansas City, St. Louis or anywhere in between.

Best national solar panel companies in Missouri

Shop around and get quotes from different companies to make sure you'll get the best system for the best price. Each firm will have different equipment and options, so it's best to compare. Here are a few selected based on our research and CNET's list of the best solar companies nationwide.

Palmetto Solar

Best overall

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Solar panels are typically low maintenance equipment, but they're also unfamiliar. If you want to reap the benefits of solar but will have a bit more peace of mind if someone else is making sure it's working, Palmetto might be a good fit for you. Just remember to add the cost of Palmetto's monitoring service in to your payback period calculations.

  • Equipment 9.3 / 10
  • Warranty 6 / 10
  • Service 10 / 10
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SunPower Solar

Best solar panels

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If you're looking for top-of-the-line solar panels, SunPower is your best choice. But don't write it off if you're looking for a less flashy installation that will get the job done. This year it started installing Qcells panels, which should make an installation from the longest-tenured company on our list available to more people.

  • Equipment 8 / 10
  • Warranty 8.5 / 10
  • Service 7 / 10
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Freedom Forever

Best for cash customers

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Include Freedom Forever in your search if you want the backing of a national company that installs a wide variety of the most popular solar equipment available. Freedom Forever also extends a couple of products that take some of the pain and risk out of going solar, like a production guarantee and an escrow option with cash purchases. Online reviews say customer satisfaction has been low of late, though the company says that's changing.

  • Equipment 9.3 / 10
  • Warranty 7 / 10
  • Service 5 / 10
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Tesla Solar

Most affordable

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Tesla's solar branch seems to be the least loved of Elon Musk's ventures. Even Tesla's Solar Roof seems to get more love.

If price is the thing you won't budge on, consider Tesla. By all accounts, Tesla installs quality panels and makes the closest thing there is to a household name in solar storage: the Powerwall.

Where you might miss out is customer service. Discussion online seems to suggest Tesla's service is a bit of a gamble.

  • Equipment 7.3 / 10
  • Warranty 6.5 / 10
  • Service 8 / 10
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Local solar panel companies in Missouri

It's important to do your research when you choose a solar company. "Make sure you pick a reputable dealer that's got a good reputation," Owen said. "There are a lot of fly-by-night companies out there."

Depending on your situation and budget, it might make more sense to go with a local solar company. Here are a few worth considering. 

Headquartered in St. Louis and serving Missouri and Illinois, StraightUp Solar is a certified B Corp, committed to social and environmental standards. The company provides solar panels and battery systems. It also offers a 10-year workmanship guarantee and a 10-year guarantee that the system will produce at least 85% of the company's estimated generation, or StraightUp Solar will repair or upgrade the system, or reimburse you for the value of the missing production.

Sun Solar, which is based in Missouri and also operates in parts of several bordering states, has been around since 2012. The company installs and services solar panels and battery systems. Sun Solar emphasizes that its work includes energy efficiency -- its energy experts will first help you to maximize your home's efficiency, meaning you won't need as much energy from your solar panels.

How to determine which solar company in Missouri is best for me

Finding a trustworthy installer can be a difficult process, but it's not impossible. You just need to know what to look for. Here are some tips to help you find a reputable installer.

  • Understand federal, state and local solar incentives. Make sure your installer can accurately explain how tax credits and incentives work.
  • Read online reviews from multiple sources. Google and Yelp are a good place to start.
  • Get recommendations from neighbors who have solar installed.
  • Check an installer's licensing and certifications. Look for installers who are certified by NABCEP
  • Compare multiple solar quotes.
  • Ask your installer all your questions, even the difficult ones. If they have trouble answering your questions, that's a red flag.
  • Assess your potential savings cost and your solar payback period. Your installer should be able to explain this to you.

Cost of solar panels in Missouri

Here's a look at the average cash price for a typical solar panel system before factoring in tax credits and other incentives, according to data from FindEnergy.com.

Average cost of solar panels in Missouri


Typical system size (kW)Price per wattTotal installed costCost after 30% federal tax credit
Missouri 9$3.37$30,330$21,231
National average 8.6$3.67$31,558$22,091

Below, you can find the total cash price, cost per watt and system size for a typical solar panel system in your state, according to data from FindEnergy.com. Prices shown don't make considerations for rebates from tax credits or state incentives. Certain states don't have any FindEnergy solar data and are grayed out on the map.

Missouri solar panel incentives and rebates

The biggest incentive available to you in Missouri is the federal Residential Clean Energy Credit, which will cover up to 30% of the cost of your solar installation. The credit, recently extended and expanded under the Inflation Reduction Act, has no limit on how much you can claim. 

Here are some other programs that can help you cover the costs of solar in Missouri.

Missouri solar incentives

Program Description
Residential Clean Energy Credit This federal tax credit will cover up to 30% of the cost of a solar system. You claim it on your taxes the following year, meaning you don't get it upfront, and you can't claim more than you owed in taxes for that year.
Rural Energy for America Program This initiative of the US Department of Agriculture is a loan guarantee program for agricultural businesses to develop renewable energy and energy efficiency. If you're a farmer or you have a small business in a rural area, you can get a loan guarantee for a wide variety of energy projects.
Net metering This is what allows you to sell excess power back to the grid. In Missouri, regulated utilities including rural electric cooperatives are required to have net metering policies, although they don't have to pay the full retail price per kilowatt-hour.

How to pay for solar panels in Missouri

Solar panels are a major investment. A system can cost tens of thousands of dollars, even after tax credits and rebates. While it should pay for itself eventually, that takes years; you need a way to pay for it now. There are several paths you can take. Here are a few.

Cash: Paying cash is one way to avoid financing and the extra costs that go along with it. And if you're not ready to flip the switch on solar panels just yet, you can start saving up now to maximize your cash on hand when the time comes. Consider regularly stashing money away in a high-yield savings account to prepare.

Solar loan: Your solar installer might have a partnership with a bank or credit union to offer financing specifically tailored for solar systems. Other financial institutions might also offer loans designed for solar. Shop around to make sure you're getting the best deal.

Home equity loan or HELOC: You don't have to get a solar-specific loan to pay for solar panels. Banks and other lenders offer home equity loans and home equity lines of credit, which can be used to pay for major home projects like solar panels. These may offer favorable terms compared to solar loans, but as always, shop around and find the right loan for you. Know that home equity loans are secured against your home's equity, meaning if you fail to pay, the bank can foreclose.

Personal loan: Another type of loan you can get from a bank or other lender is a personal loan. This differs from a home equity loan in that a personal loan isn't secured by your home or other property. As a result, they typically come with higher interest rates.

Lease or power purchase agreement: These are ways to get solar panels without buying solar panels. Leases involve you paying a solar company to put panels on your roof -- they'll be in charge of maintenance, while you get savings. Power purchase agreements involve a company putting panels on your roof, and you pay them for the power you use. These allow you to avoid the upfront costs while still benefiting from the power generation.

Read more: Just looking for an emergency backup? Check out portable folding solar panels and solar generators.

Installation factors to keep in mind

Is your home right for solar panels? It's an important question. Many houses are less than ideal for solar panels because of their orientation, the amount of sun they get or other reasons. If you can't get your own solar panels, you can still get energy from the sun through community solar

Here's what you should consider before making the decision to go solar:

  • Your roof: Solar panels that go on your rooftop require a roof that is in good condition and pointed the right way. The ideal roof faces south at an angle of between 15 and 40 degrees, but other orientations can work. 
  • HOA and neighborhood regulations: If you have a homeowners association, you'll want to check with it before getting solar panels. Your HOA (or local government) may have regulations you'll have to follow. 
  • Insurance coverage: Also reach out to your homeowner's insurance company. Most policies cover solar panels, but you'll want to make sure before the panels go on the roof.
  • Your location: If your house gets full sun all day, solar panels will be a great fit. But if you've got huge trees all around you and you're constantly in the shade? You might not get enough sun to make panels worth it. Make sure your solar company does a thorough and unbiased study to calculate how much energy you'll generate.
  • Rentals: Putting solar panels on your home is tricky if you don't own it. You'd need your landlord or management company's approval before doing anything major. If you rent, you may find it easier and more comfortable to try community solar instead of buying panels.

How we found the best solar companies

Our methodology

The companies we listed above as "the best" are curated from CNET's best solar companies list. Companies making the best list are scored on the equipment, warranties and customer service they offer. Then, we make sure these recommendations are available in your state. You can read a full breakdown of how we review solar companies here.

Companies listed under the local installers were chosen in a less rigorous way. We chose them because they offered something unique or notable to customers in the state, they seemed well-regarded by internet reviewers or because they were one of the few installers we could find information on in the state.

Whether we've completed a full review on a company or not, it's always a good idea to get multiple quotes from different installers before choosing a company.

FAQs

How long do solar panels last?

Most solar panel manufacturers extend 25-year warranties for their solar panels, although some are starting to offer 30-year options. That's not an expiration date, and solar panels can keep working past their warranties. 

Does having solar panels mean I'm off the grid?

It doesn't have to, although you can completely disconnect if you want. Most solar systems are still connected to the grid. You can sell the excess power you generate back to your utility company, and buy energy from the power company when it's dark and your panels aren't generating. If you decide to go off-grid, you'll need a battery or other type of generation source.

Do I need a battery with my solar panels?

For a system connected to the electric grid, you won't need a battery. Batteries are expensive, but they can provide value even if you don't need them. They provide a backup in case the power goes out, and allow you to pull even less power from the grid.

Do my solar panels have to go on the roof?

They don't; solar panels can be mounted on structures on the ground if you have the space. You can also put them on your garage, carport, shed, barn or doghouse. 

Jon Reed Senior Editor
Jon Reed is a senior editor for CNET covering home energy, including solar panels and energy efficiency. Jon has spent more than a decade making a living by asking other people questions. He previously worked as an editor at NextAdvisor, focused on home loans and the housing market; as a statehouse reporter in Columbus, Ohio; and as a reporter in Birmingham, Alabama. When not asking people questions, he can usually be found half asleep trying to read a long history book while surrounded by cats.
Expertise Solar | Home Energy
Jon Reed
Jon Reed is a senior editor for CNET covering home energy, including solar panels and energy efficiency. Jon has spent more than a decade making a living by asking other people questions. He previously worked as an editor at NextAdvisor, focused on home loans and the housing market; as a statehouse reporter in Columbus, Ohio; and as a reporter in Birmingham, Alabama. When not asking people questions, he can usually be found half asleep trying to read a long history book while surrounded by cats.

Article updated on March 19, 2024 at 4:00 PM PDT

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Jon Reed Senior Editor
Jon Reed is a senior editor for CNET covering home energy, including solar panels and energy efficiency. Jon has spent more than a decade making a living by asking other people questions. He previously worked as an editor at NextAdvisor, focused on home loans and the housing market; as a statehouse reporter in Columbus, Ohio; and as a reporter in Birmingham, Alabama. When not asking people questions, he can usually be found half asleep trying to read a long history book while surrounded by cats.
Expertise Solar | Home Energy
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