Solar farms in Vandalia, Bowling Green planned by 2026 by Ameren Missouri

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Ameren Missouri plans to add four solar farms in the coming years capable of producing enough energy to power 95,000 homes. | Photo courtesy of Ameren Missouri

Ameren Missouri plans to open four solar farms by 2026 capable of powering a combined 95,000 homes, the company announced Tuesday. 

Ameren, an investor-owned electric utility serving St. Louis and eastern Missouri, said in a release it would build or purchase the four solar farms, which would have a combined capacity of 550 megawatts. 

Mark Birk, Ameren Missouri’s chairman and president, said the company was taking advantage of new federal incentives meant to encourage renewable development.

“These projects support our ongoing generation transformation toward more clean energy while maintaining the reliability, resiliency and affordability our customers expect,” Birk said.

The four solar farms are a leap forward in Ameren’s plan to add a combined 2,800 megawatts of wind and solar power by the end of 2030. 

Ameren has signaled to Missouri regulators in its long-range plan that it intends to add significant amounts of renewable energy generators in the coming years. It also plans to add utility-scale battery storage in the 2030s. 

The additions are meant to help Ameren reach its target to reduce its carbon emissions by 60% by 2030, compared with 2005 levels. It hopes to reach 85% reduction by 2040 and net-zero emissions by 2045. 

“Continuing to diversify our generation portfolio – in this case increasing the amount of solar generation – will pay off, especially on those hot summer afternoons,” said Ajay Arora, senior vice president and chief renewable development officer at Ameren Missouri.

The first of the planned solar farms is expected to open in Cass County, Illinois, in 2024. Ameren hopes to add another in Vandalia in 2025 and Warren County and Bowling Green in 2026.

The announcement comes on the heels of Missouri regulators’ approval of a $140 million rate increase for Ameren electric customers. 

The Missouri Public Service Commission approved a rate hike less than half the size of the $316 million increase the company requested. When the new rates will take effect and how much more customers will pay is yet to be determined. 

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