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New Solar Farm Produces Renewable Energy For Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A solar farm is producing the newest source of renewable energy for Springfield.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A solar farm is producing the newest source of renewable energy for Springfield.

The property, located near the intersection of Farm Road 112 and 209 in Greene County features 22,000 solar panels spread across more than 40 acres of land.
   
It's the newest source of energy added to City Utilities' power grid and it's paving the way for the future of energy in the Ozarks.

"At this time in Missouri, this is the largest solar farm," said Joel Alexander, Communications Manager for City Utilities.
 
Alexander said there is a growing demand for renewable energy in the Ozarks.

"About 10-percent of our annual portfolio actually does come from renewable," he said. "There's a lot of interest and a lot of talk about this throughout town from our customers."

The solar farm is capable to producing about 4.95 megawatts, which is enough power for about 900 homes annually.

Currently, the price of City Utilities' solar energy is more than that of its non-renewable energy, adding an average of $20 to $30 to a household's monthly bill.

"As time goes on, with E.P.A. regulations and the changes in the economy, and changes in the generation of energy, this is going to become a lower cost," said Alexander.

Customers can opt into the system, and will have to pay a voluntary solar rate to be approved by City Council.

"What we're looking at doing is how can we make this cost-effective for our customers to the purchase end of the program and we're looking at a variable rate writer that would be there to help customers do this," said Alexander.

Alexander said the solar farm sheds some light on the future and options of energy in the Ozarks.

"It allows customers who want to be able to say that I get a portion or all my energy from renewable source to have that opportunity here in Springfield," he said.

City Utilities owns the property and the system is operated by Strata Solar.

Alexander said after seven years, City Utilities will have the option of buying the system.

A formal dedication ceremony for the solar farm is set for the beginning of August.
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