As the idea and implementation of solar power in popularity, one power company is seeking to bring the idea to whole neighborhoods and is encouraging schools and other organizations to apply for the program. Ameren Missouri is looking to spread solar generation across the state in a new way, according to a Sept. 2, press release. A law passed by the Missouri General Assembly 9n 2018, made the Neighborhood Solar program possible. The program will allow for the installation of solar generation facilities in parking lots, on roofs and in available open spaces across the state. Ideal partners in this program are non-profit organizations, schools, institutions or other non-residential locations that act as a gathering spot in the community.
"Ameren Missouri's Neighborhood Solar program is about more than generating renewable energy, it's about impact. We're measuring that impact in a number of ways, including increased job training, education and investments in renewable energy in the Missouri communities we serve and call home," said Matt Forck, vice president of community, economic development and energy solutions, Ameren Missouri.
Interested organizations can learn more and fill out an application at AmerenMissouri.com/NeighborhoodSolar.
The application and review process will move quickly. Ameren Missouri will score each application as it is received, looking at factors such as the amount of solar generation possible, total installation cost, support of the energy grid, neighborhood benefits, electric vehicle charging opportunities and ties to workforce training and development. The company will build and maintain the facilities. According to the press release, residential customers are not eligible. All customers, however, will benefit from the addition of more renewable energy coming onto the grid.
Initial sites for the program may be chosen as soon as December with construction targeted to begin in the early part of 2020. As many as seven sites are planned to be built as part of this first application process. The total number of facilities depends on several factors, including construction costs. The company plans to spend at least $14 million on the program.
"I expect Neighborhood Solar sites will touch all corners of our service territory across the state. It's another way we're transitioning to cleaner forms of generation in a responsible fashion," Forck said.
In September, Ameren officials met with the Livingston County Commission to discuss their plans to build a Solar + Storage facility in Utica, which will be one of three across the state. There currently is no timeline for the beginning of construction, though Ameren representatives say construction will be completed by next year.
The three facilities will be located in Green City, in Sullivan County; Richwoods in northern Washington County and Utica.
The Constitution-Tribune’s Angie Talken contributed to this report.