Schools, organizations encouraged to apply now to host solar panels
ST. LOUIS, Oct. 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Ameren Missouri, a subsidiary of Ameren Corporation (AEE), 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.
"Ameren Missouri's Neighborhood Solar program is about more than generating renewable energy, it's about impact. We're measuring that impact in a number of ways, including increased job training, education and investments in renewable energy in the Missouri communities we serve and call home," said Matt Forck, vice president of community, economic development and energy solutions, Ameren Missouri.
Interested organizations can learn more and fill out an application at AmerenMissouri.com/NeighborhoodSolar.
The application and review process will move quickly. Ameren Missouri will score each application as it is received, looking at factors such as amount of solar generation possible, total installation cost, support of the energy grid, neighborhood benefits, electric vehicle charging opportunities and ties to workforce training and development. Ameren Missouri will construct and maintain the facilities. Residential customers are not eligible. All customers, however, will benefit from the addition of more renewable energy coming onto the grid.
Initial sites for the program may be chosen as soon as December with construction targeted to begin in the early part of 2020. As many as seven sites are planned to be built as part of this first application process. The total number of facilities depends on several factors, including construction costs. Ameren Missouri plans to spend at least $14 million on the program.
"I expect Neighborhood Solar sites will touch all corners of our service territory across the state. It's another way we're transitioning to cleaner forms of generation in a responsible fashion," Forck said.
The Neighborhood Solar program is part of Ameren Missouri's Smart Energy Plan, which includes thousands of electric projects designed to create a smarter, stronger, more reliable energy grid and introduce new sources of renewable energy, all while keeping rates stable and predictable.
Ameren Missouri plans to install 100 megawatts (MW) of new solar generation by 2027. The Neighborhood Solar program, along with Community Solar and the recently announced Solar + Storage program, all fit into those plans. The additional solar generation, along with investments to own at least 700 MW of new wind generation will help Ameren Missouri achieve its goal of reducing carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050 based on 2005 levels.
Ameren Missouri has been providing electric and gas service for more than 100 years, and the company's electric rates are among the lowest in the nation. Ameren Missouri's mission is to power the quality of life for its 1.2 million electric and 127,000 natural gas customers in central and eastern Missouri. The company's service area covers 64 counties and more than 500 communities, including the greater St. Louis area. For more information, visit Ameren.com/Missouri or follow us on Twitter at @AmerenMissouri or Facebook.com/AmerenMissouri.
Forward Looking Statements
Statements in this release not based on historical facts are considered "forward- looking" and, accordingly, involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed. Although such forward-looking statements have been made in good faith and are based on reasonable assumptions, there is no assurance that the expected results will be achieved. These statements include (without limitation) statements as to future expectations, beliefs, plans, strategies, objectives, events, conditions, and financial performance. In connection with the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, we are providing this cautionary statement to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated. The following factors, in addition to those discussed under Risk Factors in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018, and elsewhere in this release and in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations suggested in such forward-looking statements:
- regulatory, judicial, or legislative actions, and any changes in regulatory policies and ratemaking determinations, such as those that may result from Ameren Missouri's electric regulatory rate review filed with the Missouri Public Service Commission ("MoPSC") in July 2019, an appeal filed by the Missouri Office of Public Counsel in January 2019 in Ameren Missouri's renewable energy standard rate adjustment mechanism case, and future regulatory, judicial, or legislative actions that change regulatory recovery mechanisms;
- the effect of Missouri Senate Bill 564 on Ameren Missouri, including customer rate caps pursuant to Ameren Missouri's election to use plant-in-service accounting;
- the effects of changes in federal, state, or local laws and other governmental actions, including monetary, fiscal, and energy policies;
- the effects of changes in federal, state, or local tax laws, regulations, interpretations, or rates, amendments or technical corrections to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2019 ("TCJA"), and challenges to our tax positions, if any;
- the effects on demand for our services resulting from technological advances, including advances in customer energy efficiency, energy storage, and private generation sources, which generate electricity at the site of consumption and are becoming more cost-competitive;
- our ability to align overall spending, both operating and capital, with frameworks established by our regulators and to recover these costs in a timely manner in our attempt to earn our allowed returns on equity;
- the cost and availability of purchased power, zero emission credits and renewable energy credits; and the level and volatility of future market prices for such commodities and credits, including our ability to recover the costs for such commodities and credits and our customers' tolerance for any related price increases;
- business and economic conditions, including their impact on interest rates, collection of our receivable balances, and demand for our products;
- disruptions of the capital markets, deterioration in our credit metrics, including as a result of the implementation of the TCJA, or other events that may have an adverse effect on the cost or availability of capital, including short-term credit and liquidity;
- the actions of credit rating agencies and the effects of such actions;
- the inability of our counterparties to meet their obligations with respect to contracts, credit agreements, and financial instruments;
- the construction, installation, performance, and cost recovery of generation, transmission, and distribution assets;
- the impact of current environmental laws and new, more stringent, or changing requirements, including those related to carbon dioxide and the adoption and implementation of the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, other emissions and discharges, cooling water intake structures, coal combustion residuals, and energy efficiency, that could limit or terminate the operation of certain of Ameren Missouri's energy centers, increase our operating costs or investment requirements, result in an impairment of our assets, cause us to sell our assets, reduce our customers' demand for electricity, or otherwise have a negative financial effect;
- the impact of complying with renewable energy requirements in Missouri;
- Ameren Missouri's ability to acquire wind and other renewable energy generation facilities and recover its cost of investment and related return in a timely manner, which is affected by the ability to obtain all necessary project approvals; the availability of federal production and investment tax credits related to renewable energy and Ameren Missouri's ability to use such credits; the cost of wind and solar generation technologies; and Ameren Missouri's ability to obtain timely interconnection agreements with the Midcontinent Independent System Operator or other regional transmission organizations, at an acceptable cost for each facility;
- labor disputes, work force reductions, changes in future wage and employee benefits costs, including those resulting from changes in discount rates, mortality tables, returns on benefit plan assets, and other assumptions;
- the impact of negative opinions of us or our utility services that our customers, legislators, or regulators may have or develop, which could result from a variety of factors, including failures in system reliability, failure to implement our investment plans or to protect sensitive customer information, increases in rates, or negative media coverage;
- the effects of strategic initiatives, including mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures;
- legal and administrative proceedings; and
- acts of sabotage, war, terrorism, or other intentionally disruptive acts.
New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all of such factors, nor can it assess the impact of each such factor on the business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained or implied in any forward-looking statement. Given these uncertainties, undue reliance should not be placed on these forward-looking statements. Except to the extent required by the federal securities laws, we undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements to reflect new information or future events.