Solar Panels

The Union R-XI board of education approved a lease program to bring renewable energy on school campuses.

Board members unanimously approved a six-year lease with Microgrid Solar in Clayton for the amount of $2,000 per year for each five 25kW arrays.

There will be arrays at each of the district schools except Beaufort Elementary. There will be two arrays at Union Middle School.

Board members had cited concerns about putting a system on the schools’ new rooftops at the October meeting. As a result, the contract includes a stipulation that Microgrid meet all specifications required by Tremco, the contractor that installed the roofs.

Troy Libra, a representative with Microgrid, estimated with the solar voltaic system in place for the next five years, the district will save a total of $142,321 in energy-related costs.

With solar panels in place, about 4 percent of the district’s electricity would come from renewable energy.

The Microgrid program includes free installation of the solar panels and an accompanying education program containing lessons and activities for students.

At the end of the lease, the district has the option of buying the equipment at fair market value, having Microgrid remove it, or renew a lease with the company.

Renewable Energy Program

The program stems from Missouri’s renewable energy standard under Proposition C that requires electric companies to generate or purchase at least 2 percent of the electricity they sell from renewable sources. The percentage will gradually increase to approximately 15 percent by 2021.

Ameren offers the rebate to commercial, industrial, residential and nonprofit customers, schools, local, state and federal government agencies, as well as agricultural entities and institutions.

Customers can receive rebates up to $50,000 throughout the lifetime of the program, which will phase out in July 2020.

In order to qualify for incentives, customers must have an electric account in good standing with the participating utility.

According to the Ameren Missouri Photovoltaic Rebate Program, eligible systems must use new equipment; be permanently installed on the customer’s property; and have module and inverter manufacturers warranties of at least 10 years.

Installations must comply with all applicable federal, state and local codes and standards, including the state of Missouri’s Interconnection Standards.

Rebate recipients must certify that the system will remain in operation on their property for its useful life, which is deemed to be a minimum of 10 years. The customer retains ownership of all solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs) generated by the system.

In exchange for offering a low-cost lease to the school district the company leasing the equipment will obtain the rebate checks.

Many other schools in the St. Louis area are already participating in one of the programs, including Clayton, Parkway and Rockwood.