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 help our consumer-members be fully informed to make the right choice when it comes to installing a form of power generation, like solar.

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Download our Member Guide for Residential and Commercial Solar for all the information you need to decide if solar is right for you.


This is not always an easy answer. Read our Solar FAQs and net metering application before making the decision on whether solar energy is right for you. An estimated return-on-investment on installing a solar system at your location can be found using our solar calculator tool below.

If you’re considering solar to reduce your impact on the environment, consider signing up for Platte-Clay’s Community Solar or GreenPower carbon offset programs instead.

Platte-Clay Solar Calculator


As your electric cooperative, we are your source for energy and information. If you would like to install and operate power generation on the PCEC system, we recommend reviewing 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.
  • 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 PCEC 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.



Our GreenPower Program limits carbon emissions by sourcing renewable energy for residential, commercial and industrial members who wish to play an active role in the development of renewable energy for a small additional fee. Although this program doesn’t decrease energy usage, its benefits include:

  • A fixed-rate green power/renewable energy credit option for all members
  • Allows members to purchase enough energy to offset 100% of their usage
  • Completely voluntary program

There is no noticeable difference in electric service with the GreenPower Program. The renewable energy purchased by the members of PCEC is pooled with other participants from our power provider, Associated Electric Cooperative. By choosing to participate, you are supporting the development of renewable energy sources.

Community Solar

Members can participate in Platte-Clay’s community solar program to invest in solar energy without taking on the liability and large upfront costs associated with installing solar at their home or business. Residential and small commercial members can add solar energy to account for their usage by buying the output of the community panels or entering into a long-term lease for a set number of panels.


Net metering is a reference to a Missouri state statute (Net Metering and Easy Connection Act. Statute: Section 386.890. RSMo.) that requires utility companies to pay their members/customers for the excess energy their renewable (wind, solar and/or hydroelectric) systems produce that goes back onto the grid. 

You can start the net metering process by submitting the appropriate application, as well as ensuring the technology you choose meets requirements. It is likely you will have to get information from your solar vendor in order to complete the application.

Upon receipt of the application and other required documentation, our engineering team will review the application for approval. If your application is denied, PCEC 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 PCEC, the Interconnection Agreement shall be executed and any costs due to the cooperative will need to be paid prior to implementation. Prior to physical interconnection, a PCEC representative will inspect for proper operation and installation.

Frequently Asked Questions

That depends on a few factors:

  1. The size of your system.
  2. Your site. It’s recommended to have solar PV panels in an area shade-free from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM.
  3. Your region. The more sunny days in your area, the more electricity you’ll be able to generate.

An estimated return-on-investment on installing a solar system at your location can be found using the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s PV Watts Calculator.

Your system will not collect sunlight at night and generation may be reduced 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 PCEC.

Some solar vendors have been known to give co-op consumer-members misleading information about rate increases, payback timeframes, monthly costs or the impact of solar on their electricity bill.

We encourage consumer-members who have been given false or misleading information during the sales or installation process to file a complaint with the Missouri Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. By filing complaints, consumers can let the Attorney General’s Office know about unscrupulous businesses and individuals. In addition to filing criminal charges and civil lawsuits, the Attorney General’s Office also mediates complaints between businesses and consumers.

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.

Members are billed for the “net” amount of power used in excess of the power generated. If there are any remaining kilowatt hours not used by the end of a billing period, then that amount will show up as a credit on the account. The credit is based on the average monthly avoided fuel cost of Associated Electric Cooperative, our generation partner, during the billing period.

Production credits are a dollar value applied to the member’s account when their Net Metering System overproduces. The amount is calculated each month at the end of the billing period and multiplied by the avoided fuel cost to generate a dollar amount.

Production credits automatically apply to the next bill that has a balance due, and any remaining credits will carry over to the next month until they are spent. If credits have not been applied to a bill in the 12 months following their production, they must expire without compensation as required by state law

In short, no. Every home or business connected to PCEC’s grid is charged a base customer charge that helps cover expenses related to the equipment connecting their service being maintained. Unless your property is off-grid, you will still receive a bill reflecting the customer charge plus your demand charge if any energy was drawn down from Platte-Clay’s system, for example on a cloudy day. Demand charges account for the costs the cooperative incurs to ensure our power supply can meet the amount needed throughout the entire system at all times.

Certified solar PV systems generally have 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 or may become less efficient over time.

No, there is no fee for connecting a solar array.

We recommend taking the following steps to find the right size of solar installation for your home or business: 

  1. First, make your home or business as energy efficient as possible to avoid wasting solar production on inefficient features.
  2. Examine your energy usage over the past 12 months.
  3. Compare your typical energy usage to the production estimates calculated by your solar vendor.
  4. Take the amount left over into consideration – this is the amount that would be credited to your account at the average monthly avoided fuel cost of Associated Electric Cooperative.

As prices decline and technology improves, installing a residential or commercial solar system makes sense for some consumers. However, even with these recent improvements in PV, it’s important to find out the facts before committing to a purchase. Consider taking these steps provided by Touchstone Energy as you explore whether solar is right for your situation.

As with any major home improvement project, purchasing from the right installer/contractor is every bit as important as the product you are purchasing. Due diligence is critical to ensure you get the best system, for a fair price, and that it’s installed correctly and on time. Check out this list of questions you should ask any solar contractor you are considering doing business with.

Platte-Clay does not offer rebates for solar installation, but a list of available rebates and incentives from third parties can be found on the Database for State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) website.