Solar Energy as an Option
Solar energy is a viable energy option for Missouri based on the local climate and the amount of available sunlight.
The basic science takes solar heat and converts it into electrical energy.
This can occur through large solar farms that provide power to the electrical grid or done for an individual residential or commercial building. Here's a primer on solar energy.
Missouri requires investor-owned utilities to generate 5% of their energy from renewable sources increasing to 10% (2018 to 2020) and 15% by 2021. IP&L has voluntarily agreed to meet the standards known as renewable portfolio standards.
The requirement is a result of a 2008 voter approved initiative (Proposition C) known as the Missouri Clean Energy Initiative.
Proposition C mandates 15% of the electricity produced by Missouri investor owned utilities comes from renewable sources by 2021, 2% of which must come from solar photo voltaics.
The Mid-America Regional Council is encouraging local communities and utilities to explore how to "solarize" their communities by addressing issues the imbed the adoption of solar options. Download slides from a June 2014 presentation.
Net Metering and Interconnection
Two important aspects of solar energy generation are net metering and interconnection. Learn more about net metering.
Missouri law requires all utilities to provide an annual report on net metering.
Energy generated, but not needed, can be sold to the utility through interconnections.
Learn more about Missouri's policies.
Learn more about the issues from Freeing the Grid.
Passive Solar Building Design
Buildings can be designed to take advantage of local climate to reduce heat during the summer and capture warmth during the winter. This is known as passive solar building design.
This is an emerging area among architects and builders. Here's a graphic illustration of the idea.
The illustration shows various ways to take advantage of passive solar through building design, materials, plantings etc.
IP&L and Solar Energy
Independence Power & Light is looking to add solar-generated solar power.
Paul Mahlberg, IP&L deputy director, commented in an industry publication that solar prices "continue to decline, and we're trying to figure out how solar could fit into our generation portfolio."
IP&L, according to the article in Megawatt Daily (Jan. 6, 2014) said it would consider a request for solar energy proposals during 2014. The amount of energy would not be significant, but is attractive because it solar is most effective during summer when IP&L has peak energy demands.
Missouri requires investor-owned utilities to generate 5% of their energy from renewable sources increasing to 10% (2018 to 2020) and 15% by 2021.
IP&L has voluntarily agreed to meet the standards known as renewable portfolio standards.
A few Independence businesses have recently installed solar panels.
Solar energy was extensively discussed at a March 22 Indy Energy forum which received extensive coverage in The Examiner.
Solar in Missouri
There is extensive active and interest in solar-generated energy in other Missouri communities.
The interest involves both investor-owned utilities and a few municipal-owned utilities.
Columbia has a municipal-owned utility and a strong commitment to renewable resources.
Columbia voters in 2004 approved a measure requiring the city to generate 5% of its energy from renewable sources by 2013 with a goal of 30% by 2028. Rates cannot increase by more than 3% because of use of renewable energy.
The city issues an annual report on renewable energy.
A Lee's Summit company constructed a large solar farm in Butler, Mo. and is selling the power to local electrical co-op.
Read a story about the solar project.
The $8 million project is called the Butler Solar Power Farm.
The investor-owned utility, serving eastern Missouri, has announced plans to construct a large solar farm outside of O'Fallon.
Estimated construction cost is more than $10 million.