- The Missouri Public Service Commission has approved Ameren's first community solar project, with the final size of the installation determined by customer interest, Midwest Energy News reports.
- Midwest Energy News reports Ameren will build at least one, and possibly two, 500-kW solar gardens to which small business and residential customers can subscribe.
- Community solar projects have been growing in popularity in Missouri. Last year the Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative was approved to construct the first garden in the state, a 100 kW system.
Missouri has been working to jumpstart its community solar programs, but most of the success has been concentrated within the state's rural electric cooperatives. Ameren's project, approved last week, could be a sign that the model will continue to spread to bigger service territories.
Caleb Arthur, who heads up the Missouri Solar Energy Industries Association, told Midwest Energy News that regulators' decision last week "sends a very good signal to industry and consumers that utilities are starting to invest more in renewable energy, and are allowing customers to invest in it also."
Missouri gets most of its power from coal, but has seen a growing interest in renewable energy from customers. Community solar in particular has proven a popular option among utilities looking to broaden renewable access to customers, while also serving lower-income communities. It also serves customers without a proper roof for residential arrays. Less than 30% of residential rooftop area is suitable for hosting a system, according to a report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Other states beginning to embrace community solar include Maryland, which just implemented its first three- year pilot community solar program, allowing co-ops and municipal utilities to participate.