User Login    
 + Register
News : Mid-Missourians Could Get Energy From a New Solar Farm
Posted by Randy on 2014/6/3 4:51:04 (138 reads) News by the same author

O'FALLON (AP) - With more than 100 days of sunshine a year and seven solar panels right next to his house, Tom O'Connor from Columbia saves some cash on his utility bills.
Click to see original Image in a new window

"Full sun comes close to producing a dollar's worth of electricity and we'd use about 50 cents worth, so we bank some credits," O'Connor said.

Credits pay for the electricity he would use on less sunny days. For O'Connor, this is a fair deal. On sunny months like March and April, he manages to bring his bills down to zero and earn some credits for the cold season. Although solar panels are just a small piece of the jigsaw, O'Connor believes solar power will be a game changer for the energy industry.

"It's going to be a huge change how energy works because the tools of production are now in everybody's hands," O'Connor said.

Soon more mid-Missourians could benefit from solar energy, getting electricity from a new solar farm in O'Fallon in St. Charles County.

Ameren Missouri recently started construction on the largest commercial solar facility in the state. The O'Fallon Renewable Energy Center will cover 19 acres of land in O'Fallon at Ameren's Belleau substation, an area approximately the size of 19 football fields. The project will install 19,000 solar panels, generating 5,7 megawatts, which is enough to cover around 650 homes.

The new solar farm is scheduled to begin delivering electricity to customers by the end of 2014. Ameren's president, Michael Moehn, said although it will probably not lower its customers' utility bills, it will keep the light on in their houses at the same rate for years to come.

"This is a commitment to keep the rates where they are today. We are 24 percent below the national average, cheapest in the state of Missouri and I think it keeps our commitment to keep rates affordable," Moehn said.

Ameren Missouri provides electric and gas services to 63 counties in Missouri including Boone, Cole, Cooper and Miller counties. The new project will also help the company meet the state's requirement to generate 15 percent of power from renewable sources.

"It clearly meets our commitment to Missouri energy standard and it's also a commitment to the environment. We've been working on renewable projects for a long period of time," Moehn said.

Ameren also gets electricity from a wind farm in Iowa, from water-powered turbines at Bagnell Dam at the Lake of the Ozarks, from a pumped storage plant in a mountain region of the Ozarks and from a landfill in Maryland Heights in Missouri.

Large solar plants might not cause pollution but they not casualty-free. A new report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finds that some solar facilities in California have killed and injured birds from 71 different species because of the intense heat some tower facilities produce and because some birds mistake the large panels for bodies of water. But the Missouri Coalition for the Environment said there have been no such complaints in Missouri so far. By contrast, the executive director, Heather Navarro, said the state should encourage more similar projects and get away from burning coal.

The new solar energy center will also bring 50 to 70 construction jobs in the region. Although Ameren Missouri does not have a fixed estimate of the cost yet, projects of similar size have totalled 10 to 20 million dollars. Ameren officials say the cost won't really trickle down much to the customers. For a period of three to five years, customers would pay one dollar per year toward the cost, totaling $3 to $5 per customer.

The federal government offers a tax credit of up to 30 percent to any company or individual installing solar systems. Combined with local and state rebates, the final price for solar panels could vary from region to region. The federal tax break expires in 2016.

Printer Friendly Page Send this Story to a Friend Create a PDF from the article


Other articles
2014/8/21 9:40:00 - Gilman City (Pattonsburg) Coaches Show For Tuesday, 8/21/14
2014/8/21 9:16:11 - "Fall Rendezvous" To Be Held In Chillicothe
2014/8/21 9:02:40 - Milan Softball Coaches Show For Thursday, 8/21/14
2014/8/21 9:00:00 - Princeton Tiger Coaches Shows For Wednesday, 8/20/14
2014/8/21 6:33:46 - Ohio Woman Injured In Accident Near Cameron
2014/8/21 4:33:26 - Judge Finds Trucking Firm Discriminated Against Women
2014/8/21 4:28:31 - Missouri Utilities Look To Kansas For Wind Energy
2014/8/21 4:24:50 - Man Charged In Double Kansas City Homicide
2014/8/21 4:22:48 - Friend Of Michael Brown Wanted In Jefferson City
2014/8/21 4:00:00 - Livingston County Sheriff Reports On Transports To Department Of Corrections
2014/8/20 11:21:38 - Milan Hosts Four-Team Softball Jamboree
2014/8/20 9:29:40 - Spickard Board Of Education Meets
2014/8/20 9:26:26 - Two Arrested On Drug Charges In Chillicothe
2014/8/20 9:22:05 - Dr G. Talks About Contagions
2014/8/20 7:35:12 - Man Convicted In 30-Year-Old Homicide Case
2014/8/20 4:44:52 - MO Gov. Nixon: 'Vigorous Prosecution' Needed After Death Of Michael Brown
2014/8/20 4:30:09 - Moberly Medical Clinics Affected By Data Breach
2014/8/20 4:26:24 - Bystanders Save Passengers From Burning Car In Fiery Ozarks Crash
2014/8/20 4:21:03 - Habersham County Will Not Pay Medical Bills For Baby Injured In Raid
2014/8/20 4:13:17 - Support Grows For Officer Who Shot Ferguson Teen Michael Brown
2014/8/20 4:01:58 - Man Arrested At Livingston County Courthouse With Knife
2014/8/19 20:20:00 - Trenton Wins and Ties, In Tuesday Night Softball Jamboree
2014/8/19 18:20:00 - MLB Moves Royals-Indians Game To "Sunday Night Baseball"
2014/8/19 11:07:24 - Grundy County Nursing Home District Meets
2014/8/19 11:01:33 - Grundy County Commissioners Meeting Report
2014/8/19 10:39:44 - 8-Year-Old Chillicothe Girl Places 2nd At Missouri State Fair
2014/8/19 10:36:11 - Alumni Band To Perform At First Trenton Home Game
2014/8/19 10:31:09 - One In Five Rely On Food Pantries In Missouri
2014/8/19 10:27:03 - Two Area Schools Post Enrollment Figures
2014/8/19 10:24:45 - 3rd Annual NCMC Foundation Golf Tournament Slated For August 29th



Bookmark this article at these sites

                   

Events Today
Listen to KTTN-FM