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AmerenUE-Funded Missouri Schools Going Solar Program Unveils First Solar Array Panel at Parkway Northeast Middle School; Energy Education Program to Provide Lessons in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for Missouri Schools
Parkway Northeast Middle School became the first of 15 Missouri schools to receive an interconnected, one-kilowatt (kW) photovoltaic array, thanks to Missouri Schools Going Solar (MSGS), a solar energy education project created by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' Energy Center and sponsored by AmerenUE.

Through this program, MSGS has awarded grants for the installation of a photovoltaic solar system to each of the nine Missouri schools that are AmerenUE electric customers. MSGS anticipates awarding systems to six more schools this year. Winning schools will also receive curricular materials and training to help teachers incorporate lessons about energy efficiency and renewable energy into classroom courses and activities.

"Our goal with this program is to educate students, teachers and communities about the sources of energy we use in our society, the value of renewable solar energy in meeting current and future energy needs and solar energy technologies," says Anita Randolph, Energy Center director. "The arrays will generate some electricity for the school building, and the program offers an opportunity for students, parents, teachers, government agencies, utilities and communities to increase their awareness and familiarity with solar electric energy technologies that are successfully used throughout the world."

The Energy Center, an office of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' Outreach and Assistance Center, is managing Missouri Schools Going Solar on behalf of the Residential/Commercial Energy Efficiency Collaborative.

The collaborative, formed as part of a settlement approved in 2002 by the Missouri Public Service Commission and other parties, includes members from the Missouri Public Service Commission, the Energy Center, Office of Public Counsel, AmerenUE and the Missouri Energy Group. AmerenUE has made available a total of $350,000, through June 2007, to implement MSGS in its Missouri electric service territory.

"This program is designed to increase awareness of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources," says Thomas R. Voss, Ameren Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. "Ameren is committed to providing our customers with clean, reliable energy, while preserving, protecting and improving the environment. To date, Ameren has offered a range of programs to educate customers about the benefits of energy efficiency and encourage the use of energy efficient products \- from programs helping people weatherize their homes and grants allowing communities to install energy-efficient lighting, to an interactive energy toolkit on Ameren's Web site, www.ameren.com. Ameren's partnership with the MSGS program strengthens that commitment."

Funding for the education program will come from MSGS as well as the required $2,500 cash match that each school must provide. Another partner in the project is the EarthWays Center, a division of the Missouri Botanical Garden. EarthWays Center, a regional leader in energy and environmental education, will provide the energy education program to the schools.

"The energy education component of this program is designed to educate as many students as possible to become 'solar ambassadors' in their communities and to enable them to explain energy issues and photovoltaic technology," says Glenda Abney, program manager of the EarthWays Center. "We will provide grade- appropriate, interdisciplinary curricular materials and teacher training that is consistent with Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education standards."

AmerenUE is a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation. Ameren companies serve 2.3 million electric customers and 900,000 natural gas customers over a 64,000-square-mile area of Missouri and Illinois.

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