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Ameren Completes Design, Selects Prime Contractor for Major Solar Initiative
Will Evaluate Effectiveness, Efficiencies of Specific Solar Systems; Site to Be Solar Educational Resource for Community

Ameren Corporation today unveiled a completed design for a multi-technology solar installation at the company headquarters in downtown St. Louis and named Sachs Electric as the prime contractor for the project.

Once they are installed by year-end, Ameren’s five solar power systems will be able to generate approximately 100 kilowatts of power at its 1901 Chouteau Avenue headquarters building.

“Our goal with this initiative is to provide our customers with practical information on the effectiveness and efficiencies of specific types of solar generation systems in this region,” added Thomas R. Voss, Ameren president and chief executive officer. “Information on our experience with these technologies will be available to the public so our customers can evaluate the use of solar energy at their homes or businesses. The project will also offer a viewing area and classroom where visitors will be able to see the rooftop solar systems along with monitors showing how much energy the units are generating.”

Information about how solar energy technologies work and a program to calculate the costs versus benefits associated with solar installations will also be available online in the spring of 2011 through www.ameren.com/solar. The site will include a real-time look at power production from the solar systems being installed at 1901 Chouteau, tips on evaluating various solar systems plus information on net metering and available rebates on these systems.

At its downtown St. Louis headquarters at 1901 Chouteau, Ameren will be installing three solar technology types and a tracking system on its rooftop: polycrystalline, monocrystalline and thin film. These systems include solar modules that contain solar cells--square-shaped panel semiconductors made of conductive materials. When sunlight strikes a solar cell, the sun's energy turns into electric current. Crystalline silicon is the material used in the majority of PV modules today. Here are descriptions of the technologies that will be on display at Ameren headquarters:

• With the monocrystalline system, each module is made from a single silicon crystal and is more efficient, though more expensive, than the newer and cheaper polycrystalline types using multiple silicon crystals. The polycrystalline and monocrystalline modules will each provide 30 kilowatts of capacity.

• Thin-film technologies use very small amounts of specialized materials to create solar panels. These materials don't have to be thick because they absorb energy from the sun very efficiently. As a result, thin-film solar cells are light-weight and flexible. This technology will account for 30 kilowatts of the total project capacity.

• Also on the roof will be two tracker systems providing a total of 2.8 kilowatts of electric capacity. These are typically designed and manufactured using a pyramidal stand, and they will rotate to follow the sun, thereby increasing their energy yields.

• At the entrance of Ameren’s corporate campus as one enters off of Chouteau will be four solar structures that will be 11-foot wide panels mounted on 6-foot poles. These fixed arrays will provide 2.8 kilowatts of capacity.

Newly named prime contractor for the project -- Sachs Electric Company is an employee-owned electrical, communications, and instrumentation contractor headquartered in Fenton, Mo. Sachs Electric was founded in 1925 by Samuel C. Sachs. Sachs is currently the largest electrical contractor in St. Louis and 13th largest in the nation.

The global engineering firm, Burns & McDonnell, with offices in Chesterfield, Mo., designed the solar demonstration project to include the latest in solar system technologies.

Burns & McDonnell has designed and managed renewable energy installations across the nation and globe, including development of a demonstration project at their Kansas City, Mo., corporate headquarters.

With assets of $24 billion, Ameren owns a diverse mix of electric generating plants strategically located in its Midwest market with a capacity of more than 16,900 megawatts. Ameren, through its subsidiaries, serves 2.4 million electric customers and nearly one million natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area of Missouri and Illinois.

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Susan Gallagher: 314-554-2175, sgallagher@ameren.com