Ameren Missouri, a subsidiary of Ameren Corp., is looking to spread solar generation across the state in a new way. As part of the Neighborhood Solar program made possible by a law passed by the Missouri General Assembly in 2018, Ameren Missouri will install solar generation facilities in parking lots, on roofs and in available open spaces across the state. Ideal partners in this program are non-profit organizations, schools, institutions or other non-residential locations that act as a gathering spot in the community.
Initial sites for the program may be chosen as soon as December with construction targeted to begin in the early part of 2020. Ideal partners in this program are non-profit organizations, schools, institutions or other non-residential locations that act as a gathering spot in the community.
How Neighborhood Solar Started
In the spring of 2018, Ameren Missouri started receiving a steady flow of inquiries from our non-residential customers who asked if we could build a solar facility on their property, on top of their parking garage or in an adjacent field. These customers recognized how solar energy might benefit their communities. Those benefits would certainly include the addition of solar energy to the grid but they would also include opportunities for job training, education, brand awareness and site revitalization.
At the same time, the Missouri General Assembly passed an important legislation to modernize the energy grid. The legislation, known as the Smart Energy Plan, included a provision for at least US$14 million of universal solar investment by Ameren Missouri. We saw the parallels between that provision and our customers' ideas and launched Neighborhood Solar in the fall of 2019.
We are now looking for partners. To be considered for the program, customers simply go to the Ameren website and complete a quick application. The application process is open for any non-residential customer in all of the 500 communities we serve.
The Value Proposition
Successful applicants will demonstrate the benefits of building the solar facility on or near their property. For example, locating a solar facility next to a community college may be the catalyst to create a job training program. New solar panels covering an elementary school's parking lot could provide curricular opportunities. Perhaps another benefit would be the addition of electric vehicle charging stations and battery storage. We know our customers have great ideas and through this process, together, we can find new and exciting ways to benefit local communities.
As soon as this December, we want to identify as many as seven sites and begin construction in early 2020. The total number of sites depends on several factors, including construction costs.
The Neighborhood Solar program is just one of the ways we're moving Missouri forward with clean energy. The Smart Energy Plan includes thousands of electric projects that will create a cleaner, stronger energy grid that will serve Missourian's changing energy needs.
We know that the benefits of the Neighborhood Solar program will reach across our service territory. I look forward to sharing more about the program and our inaugural partners, our successes and lessons, so fellow energy companies can find new ways to advance clean energy across the communities they serve.