Editor's note: Videos and photos of the proposed site are available in an online media kit.
ST. LOUIS (Oct. 29, 2020) – Today, Ameren Missouri announced plans to build its largest solar facility yet. The new site, proposed for Montgomery County, is just an hour west of St. Louis adjacent to I-70. The proposal is also the first clean energy project announcement since the company established a net-zero carbon emissions goal in September.
“Substantial increases in renewable energy generation are at the core of our transformational change toward Ameren's net-zero carbon emissions,” said Marty Lyons, chairman and president of Ameren Missouri. “This new solar facility, the largest in Ameren Missouri history, is one of many projects we’re pursuing to deliver more clean energy while maintaining the reliability and affordability our customers have come to expect."
By this time next year, Ameren Missouri anticipates thousands of solar panels will be installed near New Florence, Missouri, to harness the power of the sun.
The six-megawatt solar facility is being built based on customer demand with almost 2,000 new customer subscriptions to Ameren Missouri’s Community Solar program. Residential and small business customers from across the state enrolled in the Community Solar program so they could take part in clean energy generation without having to install panels on their own roofs or property. Three out of four subscribers tell Ameren Missouri the program offers them a solar option that would not otherwise be possible.
“Our customers have been the driving force for the growth of the Community Solar program,” said Matt Forck, vice president of community, economic development and energy solutions at Ameren Missouri. “Throughout the region, we’ve had increased demand for renewable energy, which was evident with the tremendous response we've seen as nearly 2,000 customers signed up for this new opportunity. These customers see the many benefits of the program and know they're contributing to cleaner energy and reduced carbon emissions for our region.”
Residential and small business customers can sign up to be part of the program and be a participant in future expansion.
Ameren's new, more aggressive net-zero carbon emissions goal reflects the company's leadership and continued commitment to clean energy and the environment. Milestones include reducing carbon emissions 50% by 2030, 85% by 2040, and net-zero by 2050, based on 2005 levels. The new goals accelerate and expand on the company's 2017 emissions reduction pledge and are consistent with the objectives of the Paris Agreement and limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Smart Energy Plan
The voluntary Community Solar program is part of Ameren Missouri's Smart Energy Plan, which includes thousands of infrastructure projects throughout the state to upgrade the energy grid to a smarter, cleaner and stronger system for customers. The Smart Energy Plan includes other renewable energy initiatives, such as the Neighborhood Solar program, which aims to install more solar panels on rooftops, parking lots and open land owned by businesses and organizations at no cost to them.
Once completed, the Montgomery County solar facility will be the second Community Solar site serving Ameren Missouri customers. All available subscriptions at the state's first Community Solar facility, located near St. Louis Lambert International Airport, were filled quickly and the facility went into service in 2019.
"Customers are still interested in this program," Forck said. "We'd like to continue expanding Community Solar to additional sites at the speed driven by customer demand."
Although Ameren Missouri already owns the land for the proposed solar facility, the company must receive approval from the Missouri Public Service Commission prior to construction.
This is the first of several newly planned renewable energy projects. In the next few months, Ameren Missouri plans to acquire two Missouri-based wind energy facilities. Their construction, along with upcoming projects, translates to thousands of new construction jobs. The benefits of these investments extend through the local economy, leading to greater levels of opportunity for many, including diverse suppliers.
Ameren Missouri has been providing electric and gas service for more than 100 years, and the company's electric rates are among the lowest in the nation. Ameren Missouri's mission is to power the quality of life for its 1.2 million electric and 132,000 natural gas customers in central and eastern Missouri. The company's service area covers 64 counties and more than 500 communities, including the greater St. Louis area. For more information, visit Ameren.com/Missouri or follow us on Twitter at @AmerenMissouri or Facebook.com/AmerenMissouri.