Solar Power in Missouri – Information From White River Valley Electric Cooperative
We are committed to meeting the needs of our members with green energy solutions.
Every large purchase requires thorough considerations and careful planning. Buying and installing solar panels is no exception. To avoid overspending, it is especially crucial to do accurate calculations and surround yourself with knowledgeable professionals. That’s where we come in. We’ve supplied the following steps to ensure that our Missouri members make the right choice when it comes to installing a form of power generation, like solar.
Step 1: decide if solar is right for you
This is not always an easy answer. Read our Solar FAQs and other resources before making the decision on whether solar energy is right for you.
Step 2 – Contact WRVEC professionals
As your electric cooperative, we are your source for energy and information. With nearly 300 WRVEC members opting for net metering, we know a thing or two about solar PV systems. If you would like to install and operate power generation on the WRVEC system, we recommend you review the following:
- Make your home more energy efficient before buying a solar system. This can cut energy usage and potentially reduce the size of your new solar energy system – saving you money.
- Call our team to answer questions, provide resource materials, and determine your energy needs.
- Choose a reputable contractor/installer. It’s important to compare bids, check references and examine contracts before committing.
- Make sure, prior to any purchase, that you have applied with WRVEC to interconnect your power generation and that you have met all requirements. (See Step 3)
- Maintain good records of all pre-purchase and post-purchase data. You never know when that will come in handy.
Step 3 – Make a Formal Application to WRVEC
You can start the process by submitting the appropriate application, as well as ensuring the technology you choose meets requirements. It is likely you will have to get the vendor involved in submitting the application.
Upon receipt of the application and other required documentation, our engineer will review the application for approval. If your application is denied, WRVEC will provide information as to the requirements for approval. Further interconnection studies may need to be executed depending on system size and requirements.
Once approved by WRVEC, the Interconnection Agreement shall be executed and any costs due to WRVEC will need to be paid prior to implementation. Prior to physical interconnection, a WRVEC representative will inspect for proper operation and installation.
Step 4: Or would you like to buy Green power from WRVEC?
Our Green Power Program limits carbon emissions by sourcing renewable energy for residential, commercial and industrial members that wish to play an active role in the development of renewable energy. The program was created in 2003 and recently enhanced in 2020 to better reflect the needs of our membership. Program benefits include:
- A fixed-rate green power/renewable energy credit option for all members
- Allows members to purchase enough energy for 100% of their energy usage
- Completely voluntary program with six-month billing cycles
There is no noticeable difference in electric service with the Green Power Program. The renewable energy purchased by the members of WRVEC is pooled with other participants from our Generation and Transmission Company, Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc. So while WRVEC cannot guarantee that those very electrons a member purchases through the program will be the same ones that flow through that member’s meter, WRVEC can guarantee that the amount purchased will be delivered on our power grid. By choosing renewable energy, you are supporting the development of renewable energy sources – which is a benefit for everyone.
For more information about the Green Power Program, check out the member fact sheet below!
Solar energy systems work when sunlight hits a solar photovoltaic (PV) panel and causes electric current to flow. The produced direct current (DC) is then converted by an inverter to alternating current (AC), needed for use by household appliances. An electrical panel distributes energy throughout your house or business and any excess can be sold to our power suppliers through net metering.
That depends on a few factors: 1) The size of your system. Note that you can start out small and add on. 2) Your site. It’s recommended to have solar PV panels in an area shade-free from 9-3 p.m. 3) Your region. The more sunny days in your area, the more electricity you’ll be able to generate. You can find online calculators to help answer this question in more detail.
Your system will not collect sunlight at night and on cloudy days. Battery-backed systems use on-site storage to store excess energy to use during these times. However, this option will add significant cost and maintenance to your system. Most people opt for grid-connected systems for 24/7 energy access, reduced cost, maintenance, and high reliability – provided by WRVEC.
Most grid-connected solar PV systems shut down to prevent back-feeding electricity into power lines that may be damaged or in repair. This prevents injuries, and even death, to those working on the line.
Particularly on sunny days when your energy use can be low, your system may produce excess energy that can flow back to the grid and be sold through net metering.
The price of a solar PV system varies depending on size or generating capacity, quality, and complexity of the system. Installation costs depend on the system installed, as well as, home layout and construction. An average 4 kW system may cost between $11,000 and $15,000. The federal government has a 26% tax credit through 2020, 22% tax credit in 2021, ending in 2022.
Certified solar PV systems generally are reliable, with a life expectancy of about 30 years. Most manufacturers offer 20 to 25-year warranties for panels. Other components like inverters may have a shorter life.
To begin, you can look at factors such as which direction your home faces, the roof’s condition, or sunlight obstructions like trees and other buildings. There are other energy savings options if your home isn’t ideal for solar. Let us help! Solar contractors can provide a more detailed analysis on what to expect. WRVEC can also provide helpful information such as use history for a correctly sized unit.
Before choosing a solar PV system, be sure that your home is in excellent shape; this may include energy efficiency updates or roof repairs. Investing in these will provide a faster return on investment and save you from unexpected future costs. Research solar PV systems and contractors before investing in a system. Get at least three quotes. Also, request advice and assistance from WRVEC. We have experience working with our solar members and vendors alike, and can provide information to aid in your decision-making.