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How effective is a solar panel in Columbia? See the data from a photovoltaic panel at the Columbia Career Center.
A net meter can measure electricity flowing to the utility from a customer’s solar system on sunny days, when production exceeds consumption. It can also reverse its direction to measure the amount of electricity used by the customer on cloudy days or at night. 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. Most solar owners use more electricity than they produce each month so they still have a residual amount on their monthly bill. Should however, the solar system produce more electricity than the customer uses during the month, a credit can be carried to the subsequent month on a limited basis.
Columbia Water & Light electric customers that install a small scale solar generator of 10 Kilowatts or less that sign an interconnection agreement are eligible for net metering. The equipment must be certified by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and the Underwriters Laboratory (UL). Installation must follow the National Electric Code, Article 690. Please see our solar system informational page for more details.
Columbia Water & Light will pay the residential electric rate for excess electricity generated by a customer. A net metering/interconnection agreement must be in place for the customer to receive a credit for the energy they generate.
In 2004, Columbia voters approved a renewable energy standard for the city. In order to help meet the targeted levels of renewable energy, the utility is encouraging customers to install solar systems. Solar systems generate the most electricity during the summer months when electric needs are at their highest. Solar systems installed by customers help offset expensive peak electric costs for Columbia Water & Light.
Columbia Water & Light should be consulted before installing a solar system that a customer wants to use for net metering. See our solar informational page for more information. It is important to make sure that the system will meet the guidelines of the interconnection agreement. Columbia Water & Light will also help coordinate the installation of the equipment into the electric distribution system. Columbia Water and Light can be contacted via e-mail or by calling 573-874-7325.
Yes! Columbia Water & Light offers rebates for solar systems. Electric customers can receive a rebate of $500 per Kilowatt (up to ten Kilowatts) for solar systems. Federal tax credits are also available.
There is a natural constraint to the amount of solar energy that can be harvested from any roof, based on its size. An average photovoltaic (PV) panel in full sunlight produces approximately 110 watts per square meter. To reach Columbia Water & Light’s 10 KW limit, it would take 970 square feet of PV panels. This is an area approximately equivalent to the entire south facing roof area of a perfectly oriented and exposed 2,000 square foot, ranch style house.