Ameren Missouri is leading the way in the push for more solar energy with recently announced programs and customer rebates that will have a substantial impact on the solar industry in Missouri.
In October, Ameren Missouri announced the Community Solar program, a new clean energy option available for all residential and small business customers who support renewable energy but don't have the space available for solar panels. The program is so popular it is already fully subscribed. Customers can sign up to go on a waiting list.
"This program is designed specifically for customers who believe in renewable energy and want to support its growth in Missouri. Whether a family wants one block or many more, we know there is great support for solar energy in the state," said Matt Forck, assistant vice president, Community, Economic Development and Energy Solutions, Ameren Missouri.
A new, one-megawatt solar facility, will be built just north of St. Louis Lambert International Airport, with a projection that the facility could be in service as soon as next summer.
Additionally, Ameren Missouri's Smart Energy Plan includes $28 million in solar rebates for customers who choose to add solar to their home or business. Customers began submitting applications for rebates in November, and by early December the $10 million first-year program goal had been met. Customers who have interest in the solar rebate program can learn more by visiting https://www.ameren.com/missouri/solar
The Smart Energy Plan also includes a provision for Ameren Missouri to build a new $14 million solar generation facility by 2023, which will further enhance the transition to a cleaner energy future for Missouri.
Plan includes appliance recycling, product rebates and a variety of energy efficiency benefits
Ameren Missouri customers will soon have additional energy efficiency programs that will help them save energy, as the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) recently approved the next round of energy efficiency programs as part of the Missouri Energy Efficiency Investment Act (MEEIA).
Ameren Missouri’s new plan will consist of a number of energy efficiency and demand response programs for residential and business customers. Residential customer programs include appliance recycling, efficient products, energy efficiency kits, home energy reports, HVAC, lighting, and residential education.
Programs will also be available for low-income families (single family and multifamily). Ameren Missouri will post on its website information on the types of projects and the types of customer measures that could qualify under the Multifamily Low-Income Program.
Under the new cycle of programs approved by the PSC, low-income programs will be implemented over a nearly six-year period from March 1, 2019 to December 31, 2024 while all other programs offered will operate over an approximate three-year period from March 1, 2019 to December 31, 2021.
MEEIA was passed by the Missouri legislature and signed into law in August 2009. The purpose of MEEIA is to encourage investor-owned electric utilities to develop and implement customer-focused energy management programs, also known as “demand response” programs. Ameren Missouri’s newest approved plan is the company’s third cycle of programs since passage of the law.
PSC commissioners expressed support for the new programs by approving the plan in a 5-0 vote. In particular, positive comments were expressed regarding the energy savings that will result from these programs and the benefits for low-income customers.
To learn more about Ameren Missouri's current energy efficiency programs and customer benefits, visit https://www.ameren.com/missouri/energy-efficiency
Utility recognized for continued support of higher education organization
Ameren Missouri has been named 2018 Organization of the Year in St. Louis by the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), receiving the honor during the nonprofit organization’s annual Leaders’ Breakfast. Ameren Missouri was recognized for its ongoing support of UNCF’s mission to support education and help break the financial barriers that prevent talented students from earning a college degree.
“Through its investment in education, UNCF makes a tremendous impact not only in the communities we serve but also across the nation," says Michael Moehn, president, Ameren Missouri. "We are proud to support the wonderful work UNCF does every day in our community to help the leaders of tomorrow access educational opportunities today.”
Since 1982, Ameren Missouri has contributed nearly $131,000 to UNCF through a combination of corporate and employee-matching gifts. The donated funds have been used to support UNCF’s efforts to provide financial support to young people working to attain a college degree. Additionally, Ameren Corporation has received the top diversity ranking from DiversityInc for four consecutive years for creating an inclusive workplace, supporting the diverse communities it serves and developing strong partnerships with diverse suppliers.
UNCF is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization, awarding more than $100 million in scholarships annually and administering more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities. Learn more at UNCF.org, or follow UNCF on Twitter @UNCF.
Growing up, Caleb Arthur watched his father and grandfather run a family-owned business in south central Missouri installing water pumps. Being in business was clearly in his genes, but he went his own way and pumped it up considerably. At the age of 32, Arthur is now CEO of Sun Solar, a company that grossed more than $24 million in sales in 2016.
After graduating from high school in 2004, he became a certified firefighter and police officer. An on the job injury sidelined him for a bit and gave him time to think about installing solar panels at his own home. He discovered not only could he use them for his house, but “there was a serious need for a solar company” in the area. So, he started one, and it has been growing by leaps and bounds ever since.
Starting a new business was not easy. Banks would not provide a loan to the new entrepreneur, so he borrowed money from his grandparents. That $13,000 startup loan grew to a $2 million company in 2014 and saw a nearly 900 percent increase just two years later. His company is now being hailed as the #1 Residential Solar Installer in Missouri and the fastest growing business in Springfield, Missouri. It was also honored as a “Fast Track” recipient by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce.
While he has worked to grow his own business, he has also worked to improve the business climate for the solar industry across the state. He recently completed a term as president of the Missouri Solar Energy Industries Association (MOSEIA). In that post, he closely followed the passage of the energy bill passed and signed into law in Missouri earlier this year.
“It’s hard to sell solar in Missouri, compared to the rest of the United States,” Arthur noted in a recent interview. “Our energy laws could be improved; energy costs are low.” But renewable energy, and solar in particular, is a focus of companies like Ameren Missouri. Arthur has no doubt put his own youthful energy to work making things happen for the solar industry.
His goal is to make Sun Solar a $300 million company by 2021. His company currently employs more than 100 workers, and he would like to employ 300, with an emphasis on hiring military veterans. “I like to hire military vets,” he said, and to let them be managers. “If you want to be a successful solar company, hire veterans. Great things will happen.”
Caleb Arthur trusts veterans, and he also believes in his own generation.
“My generation has the opportunity to end wars, feed everyone, and create a 100 percent sustainable planet for every human and animal,” he said.
He’s into his business, but his family, as well. He and his wife, Rachel, have five children and he notes that a good work/life balance is a must. He also has a lot of friends. In fact, 38,000 of them on Facebook! Apparently for Caleb Arthur its “go big or go home” in just about all aspects of his life.