Ameren Missouri is taking off on a forward-thinking plan to increase the amount of solar energy available to customers. On May 3rd, the company announced plans for a new solar generation facility to be built at St. Louis Lambert International Airport. Energy produced there would be available for its customers through the Community Solar Program.
"What better way to showcase that we're a progressive region committed to finding innovative solutions to energy generation than by placing a large solar field at the airport," said Mike Mueller, vice president of economic and technology development at Ameren. "Ameren Missouri continues to lead the way by investing in more clean energy delivered reliably and affordably to our customers."
The plan calls for Ameren Missouri, a subsidiary of Ameren Corporation, to build up to a one megawatt facility at Lambert. Once the plan is approved by city officials and state regulators, Ameren Missouri customers can sign-up for blocks of solar generated energy.
"This is a simple solution for customers to take part in solar generation," said Dan Lidisky, director of technology and renewable development at Ameren. "Nothing is installed on a customer's roof, and the experts at Ameren Missouri take care of maintaining the solar panels."
The airport is an ideal location for solar panels. There is an abundance of open land that would otherwise go unused. Panels would be positioned away from runways and out of the line-of-sight of pilots taking off or coming in for a landing.
"We're proud to be a part of this proposed project because St. Louis Lambert International Airport is heavily focused on impactful, environmentally sustainable projects and this is another positive piece that aligns with our mission," said Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge, airport director.
How it Works
The program will be open to all Ameren Missouri residential and small business customers. Once the subscription period opens later this year, interested customers can sign up for 100 kilo-watt-hour blocks of solar generation capacity. Customers can subscribe for the equivalent of up to half of their average electric usage based on the previous 12 months' usage. A limited number of blocks will be made available, at a price yet to be determined. Once the program is fully subscribed, construction will begin. Solar generation could start as soon as next spring. Customers interested in the program can go to AmerenMissouri.com/communitysolar for more information.
"Based on what our customers are telling us, we believe there is a strong interest," Lidisky said. "Only those who sign up for the program will pay the cost related to installation of this new solar generation facility."
Ameren Missouri is focused on adding 500MW of new renewable energy generation. In addition to this solar project, Ameren Missouri recently launched a second solar program targeted at businesses interested in hosting solar generation on their property. The company currently operates the 5.7MW O'Fallon Renewable Energy Center, which is capable of producing nearly 8 million kilowatt-hours of energy from the sun's rays each year.