view from the states
Solar Rebates Coming to Missouri
By 2:1, voters pass a 15 percent renewable electricity standard.
Bob Solger is the owner
of the Energy Savings
com), specializing in the
design of building inte-
grated renewable energy
systems. His company
has installed more than
500 kilowatts of solar
and wind systems. He is a
member of the U.S. Green
Building Council (USGBC),
as well as the USGBC’s
St. Louis and Kansas City
chapters, the Heartland
Renewable Energy Soci-
ety and Solar Energy
Subcommittee, and the
American Solar Energy
Society. Solger was hon-
ored as the Healthy Plan-
et Green Hero in 2007
and is a board member of
the Metropolitan Energy
Center in Kansas City.
Contact him at bsolger@
Steve O’Rourke is opera-
tions manager of the
Energy Savings Store. He
has more than 25 years
experience as a consul-
tant in the computer
industry working with
major companies in var-
ious industries. He can
be reached at sorourke@
until recently, only one small utility in Missouri of- fered a solar incentive: The municipal power com- pany in the university town of Columbia offered
a $500 rebate on rooftop installations. Missouri relies on
Wyoming coal for more than 85 percent of its energy supply; another 12 percent comes from hydroelectric dams.
We have good wind and solar resources, but the state ranks
47th in the nation for non-hydroelectric generation.
Progress began in 2007, when the state legislature
passed a net-metering law. Then, in 2008, the renewable
energy community — led by the Missouri Coalition for
the Environment, the Sierra Club, the Missouri Farmers
Union and a number of solar installers — went to the voters. We argued that it’s just good common sense to diversify our energy sources, so that we don’t have all of our
eggs in the coal basket. Reliable renewable energy sources
would keep Missouri businesses competitive and protect
homeowners from price spikes. It would keep our energy
dollars within the state and create jobs here. That means
developing energy from sources that can’t be depleted, like
the sun and wind.
By BOB sOLGer and steve O’rOurke
Last July, Missouri solar installers and renewable energy
advocates came together to launch the Missouri solar energy
Industries Association ( moseia.org). Proposition C, passed by
voters in November 2008, includes a $2 per watt solar rebate
program for homes and businesses within investor-owned
utility territory, effective this January.
PV systems are more affordable
than ever in Missouri.
Happily, the voters agreed. Proposition C, passed by a
margin of 2 to 1 in November 2008, mandates that investor-owned utilities (IOUs) increase the amount of electricity generated from renewable sources to 15 percent by
2021. A solar carve-out requires 2 percent of qualifying
renewable power to come from photovoltaics (PV). The
law requires IOUs to provide a $2 rebate per installed
watt of solar PV power starting Jan. 1. The
rebate is limited to $50,000 for a 25-kilo-
The Public Service Commission (PSC),
charged with overseeing Missouri utility rates, has been conducting stakeholder
meetings between Kansas City Power and
Light ( kcpl.com), Ameren ( ameren.com),
solar and wind installers and other interested parties to establish rules for implementing the renewable energy requirements. The new rules will
set the amount of renewable energy required each year
and how the funding for the solar rebates and renewable
energy credits (RECs) will be distributed. They will also
determine if the renewable energy must be generated and
purchased in Missouri or if some can flow from out of state.
Copyright © 2010 by the American Solar Energy Society Inc. All rights reserved.
While the PV rebate of $2 per watt was established early,
market price and purchase requirements for RECs were
still under discussion at press time.
In June, seven firms within Missouri’s solar industry
formed a trade association. The Missouri Solar Energy
Industry Association (MoSEIA) will, according to its mission statement, “strengthen and expand the Missouri solar
industry and establish a sustainable energy future for all
Missourians.” MoSEIA is taking part in the PSC meetings
and working to ensure that the PSC develops appropriate
rules for implementing Proposition C. MoSEIA wants to
ensure that solar rebates and associated benefits stay in Missouri, helping to bolster the state’s energy independence
and creating jobs within Missouri’s borders.
During PSC hearings last fall, MoSEIA
proposed language that would require utilities to purchase, upfront, at least 10 years of
RECs from distributed grid-tie customers.
It would also require a simplified grid-tie
contract for customers and require that all
grid-tie power originate within Missouri.
We will continue to make our case for these
and other requirements that benefit Missouri citizens.
Thanks to expanded federal tax incentives and falling
prices for silicon, PV systems are more affordable than
ever in Missouri, and we expect the industry to grow
quickly in 2010. The solar industry is now well positioned
to create Missouri jobs, support small businesses and grow
local economies. ST
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