New report says Missouri has grown in solar energy use

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COLUMBIA - A new report from Environment Missouri shows Missouri more than tripled its growth in solar energy in 2013.

P.J. Wilson, executive director of Environment Missouri, said Missouri's solar policies are allowing it to increase solar growth.

"Missouri's gone from a laggard state to a leading state in rooftop solar in the last few years because of the policies enacted by the state legislature and the initiative petition process," Wilson said in a news release.

A major barrier to further expansion of solar use is the cost to set up solar panels. To facilitate expansion, the report advises states and cities to offer incentives to homes and businesses, such as tax credits, rebates, and/or grants. 

For homeowners, paying for 20 years worth of electricity is not particularly easy, especially if the homeowner is unsure if they will stay at the residence for the full 20 years, according to the report. In this instance, the report advises going through a third party organization, outside of the homeowner or business, to bear the upfront costs. Then the homeowner or business owner could use the solar panels under a lease with the third party organization that owns them.

Columbia's Solar One allows businesses and residents to purchase blocks of solar power for $3.35 per 100 kilowatts per hour. Only Columbia Water & Light customers can sign up for solar energy through Solar One. If you would like to install your own solar panels on your home, you can contact Water & Light for a low interest loan or rebate.