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Missouri largest solar farm is producing power
A solar farm in Greene County — the largest in the state of Missouri — is now contributing energy to City Utilities transmission grid.
City Utilities spokesman Joel Alexander said in an email this week that the approximately 40-acre project northeast of Springfield began producing power on June 26. A formal dedication is planned for early August — and the utility plans
The 4.95-megawatt generation system is located on land City Utilities owns — a 57-acre plot immediately east of the McCartney Generation Station at the northwest corner of Farm Roads 112 and 209. But the system is operated by North Carolina-based Strata Solar, which financed and constructed the project developed by St. Louis-based Solexus Development to use the occasion to identify customers interested in paying a premium to be sourced by the solar energy.
City Utilities was responsible for connecting the system to its existing infrastructure, and has an agreement to purchase all the energy that is produced. The agreement covers 25 years, over which time the system is expected to produce about 9.6 million kilowatt hours per year — estimated to be enough to power about 902 homes in Springfield annually. City Utilities also has the option to purchase the system after seven years.
Under a current proposal, customers interested in supporting the system will be able to designate they want to purchase the energy produced by the farm.
The voluntary solar rate — which would be higher than current rates for energy from other sources — will ultimately have to be approved by the CU Citizens Advisory Council, the Board of Public Utilities and Springfield City Council before it can be implemented.
If the current proposal is approved, customers — residential, industrial and commercial — would be able to indicate what portion of their energy use they want to come from solar power. That solar rate would be locked in for 20 years, although there would be no penalty for dropping out after two years.
“At some point in the future, if you assume energy prices are going up, you would suspect there will be a crossover where the solar will be cheaper than the other,” CU General Manager Scott Miller told council members in June. “We dont know what year or if that will happen, but that is a potential.”