Missouri reaches solar rebate agreement


In the U.S. state of Missouri on Wednesday the Missouri Public Service Commission approved an agreement between local utility Ameren Missouri, solar industry representatives and other groups outlining solar rebate payments the energy company has to pay under the state’s renewable energy law.

According to a report by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the agreement requires Ameren to make available $91.9 million in solar rebates, $21.9 million of which has already has been paid out by the company. With applications for another $20 million in the approval process, some $50 million remain available for new projects.

The nearly $22 million in rebates Ameren paid out from July 2012 through Oct. 31 helped support the addition of about 11 MW of PV capacity on area homes and businesses, according to the newspaper.

Industry reps have praised the deal, saying it gives the solar community visibility and the ability to continue business as usual and plan for the future.

The agreement is also expected to speed up hundreds of solar rebate applications that have been pending. The rebate program has been on hold for several weeks after Ameren asked the Public Service Commission to allow it to suspend payments for the final weeks of the year.

Ameren had sought to suspend the rebate program early this year, saying a flood of rebate applications over the summer threatened to increase the cost of complying with the state’s renewable energy standard and lead to higher rates, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The regulator, along with the Missouri Solar Energy Industries Association and the Office of Public Counsel, challenged the utility’s argument, leading to negotiations and the final agreement.

Missouri’s solar rebates grew out of the state’s Proposition C, a renewable energy mandate approved by voters in 2008 requiring investor-owned utilities to obtain 15% of their power from renewable resources by 2021 as long as it did not lead to electric rate increases of more than 1%.

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