Ameren Missouri approved for first pilot subscriber solar program
By Iulia Gheorghiu , Published Sept. 5, 2018
- The Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) last Tuesday to Ameren Missouri,under the utility's first pilot subscriber solar program.
- The 1 MW solar facility, which will be sited at the St. Louis Lambert International Airport, qualified as an economically feasible proposal and the PSC determined there was a need for the power service.
- The utility's capital investment for the project is capped at $3 million under the agreement, which is part of "an ongoing process," PSC Staff Director Natelle Dietrich told Utility Dive. Regarding future investments, a new Missouri law enacted this summer authorizes the utility to allocate $14 million to utility-owned solar by 2023 and provide up to $28 million in solar rebates for its customers starting 2019.
As demand for residential solar expands, utilities are looking for ways to allow customers to access solar power, such as community solar projects.
"The Community Solar project will be a great option for customers who do not have adequate compatible solar space or the means to support private solar generation, but want to take part in growing this renewable resource," Ajay Arora, vice president of power operations and energy management at Ameren Missouri, told Utility Dive via email.
Dietrich said this is the first pilot subscriber solar program of its nature in the state. Kansas City Power & Light previously received approval for other types of solar programs, including a pilot program for educational purposes.
"Ameren Missouri has been working out the details and trying to find a location," since the project was originally approved in 2016, Dietrich said.
Ameren Missouri aims to cut 80% of its carbon emissions by 2050 and the new program will help drive customer demand for solar going forward. The utility received customer subscriptions totaling 1 MW as part of its CCN application.
While the pilot subscriber program is relatively small, Ameren has bigger ambitions on the renewables front.
In June, the PSC approved a new renewables program for the utility through which it may offer 100% renewable energy for large customers. The program is also based on Ameren Missouri securing customer commitments before acquiring up to 400 MW of new renewable generation, half of which could be company-owned.
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