User Login    
 + Register
News : Mid-Missourians Could Get Energy From a New Solar Farm
Posted by Randy on 2014/6/3 4:51:04 (126 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
2014/8/1 10:31:07 - Flower Show Winners Announced At Fair
2014/8/1 10:29:39 - Rabbit And Poultry Winners Announced At Fair
2014/8/1 7:45:39 - Analyzing Amendment One - The Right to Farm
2014/8/1 7:26:56 - Voter Turnout Projected At 27 Percent In Missouri
2014/8/1 6:23:41 - Unionville Man Injured In Motorcycle Accident
2014/8/1 4:43:54 - Body Found In Holt County In Northwest Missouri
2014/8/1 4:35:13 - Missouri Man Gets 15 Years For Identity Theft
2014/8/1 4:28:06 - Missouri Man Sentenced To Prison For Trafficking Fake DVDs
2014/8/1 4:23:32 - Police: Teen Raped On Lawn At Keith Urban Show
2014/8/1 4:20:58 - Disturbing Video Shows Teens Setting Themselves On Fire In Trend Called "Fire Challenge"
2014/8/1 4:11:25 - Lab Walks 30 Miles To Previous Owner, But Family Won't Take Dog Back
2014/8/1 4:07:35 - Man, Grandson Dead After More Than 90 Shots Fired At Home
2014/8/1 4:02:54 - Colorado To Issue Driver's Licenses To Immigrants
2014/8/1 3:57:24 - Country Showdown Begins At 7:30 Tonight At NCM Fair
2014/7/31 9:47:23 - Trenton Teen Injured In Accident Northeast Of Trenton
2014/7/31 9:44:23 - Water Treatment Process To Change In Trenton
2014/7/31 9:41:48 - Albany Woman Killed In Accident On Highway 136
2014/7/31 9:38:53 - Pilot Makes Emergency Landing At Trenton
2014/7/31 4:37:39 - Missouri Man Arrested For Photographs Of Babies, Toddlers Being Molested
2014/7/31 4:22:38 - Employees Turn Away Special Needs Children From Some Carnival Rides
2014/7/31 4:18:02 - Jail Escapee Caught Asleep On Sedalia Couch
2014/7/31 4:13:29 - Missouri Woman Who Poisoned Family Could Face Two Juries
2014/7/31 4:09:05 - Bicyclist Says Sunset Hills Mayor Swerved Car Into Him; Mayor Has Different Story
2014/7/31 4:04:20 - Kansas Girl Nearly Strangled By Utility Line
2014/7/30 8:51:06 - Today Is The Deadline For Absentee Ballot Requests
2014/7/30 8:49:03 - Trenton Residents To Receive Higher Electric Bills
2014/7/30 8:41:52 - Trenton Resident Charged With Possession Of Meth
2014/7/30 8:39:49 - Chillicothe Police Department Announces The Hiring Of New Officer
2014/7/30 8:36:56 - Smoke Testing To Resume In Trenton Today
2014/7/30 5:55:53 - Shelby Lowrey Of Laredo Crowned NCM Fair Queen



Bookmark this article at these sites

                   

Listen to KTTN-FM