CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Local businesses said more people are asking for solar panels for their home.
"We wanted to save energy, and we wanted to lower our electric bill," said Charley Tinsley, a Cape Girardeau homeowner.
Tinsley had solar panels installed on his home last week.
"The only thing I knew about solar panels is that they were very expensive," said Tinsley.
But with new programs, Missourians might be able to get their hands on solar panels a little more easily than you think.
According to Missouri Proposition C, passed by voters in 2008, utility companies are required to gradually increase their usage of renewable energy sources, like solar, wind, biomass and hydropower, until 15 percent of energy in the state is renewable by 2021.
So energy companies like Ameren are offering programs to help customers install solar panels.
"They've made it affordable with this program for the average person wanting to get into solar and doing renewable electricity," said Patrick Koetting with Go Green Contracting.
"Otherwise there's no way you could come up with that kind of money up front, at least we couldn't, so that was a big factor in us doing it," said Tinsley.
Koetting said they get 10 to 20 calls a week from people asking for the solar panels, and wanting to save money.
He said Ameren offers a program where they cover $2 per installed watt. So, the largest system offered, 25 kilowatts, costs about $75,000. Based on the payment equation, Ameren would cover about $50,000 dollars, leaving the customer to pay about $25,000. But, Koetting said tax credits can help cover some of that bill.
So is the bill worth it?
Koetting said for a 25 kilowatt system, a homeowner's monthly energy bill can be around $350. The system can save about $250 a month, reducing the energy bill to $100 a month.
Koetting said the system is expected to pay for itself within the first 8 years.
Tinsley said they wanted their energy bill to go down, but not the price of their home.
"We wanted to keep the panels on the same side of the house, we wanted it to look good from the curb, we didn't want to take away from possible resale value in the future," said Tinsley.
"I understand aesthetics is a big deal, it can be as green as you want it to be, but if it doesn't look good, you're not going to do it," said Koetting.
But Tinsley said they're glad they did install the solar panels.
"There's also the benefit that it will help the environment, so it was a win-win for everybody," said Tinsley.
Contact your utility provider because not all provide the discount program.
Check out the goGreen Facebook page here.