Rural Missouri - December 2017 - 4
| C O O P E R AT I O N
Citizens Electric helps members catch some sun
Citizens Electric's Steve Elsea, right, shows off the co-op's new Ste. Genevieve Solar Park to
members Steve and Ellen Frye. The Fryes bought blocks of solar power for their home and
also became the first commercial supporter of Citizens' SharedSolar Program at the bed-andbreakfast they operate in Farrar. See page 30 for more on this unique place to stay.
n Sept. 20, Citizens Electric became the third Missouri electric cooperative to offer community solar to its members when it dedicated its
solar array located on 4.5 acres of land near Ste. Genevieve. Interest
in the renewable energy source has been strong, with 47 percent of the
power claimed by members less than a month after it was first offered.
"We just kicked off last month and we already have 43 members on board,"
says Steve Elsea, manager of member services for the Perryville-based cooperative. "Of those 43, 3 out of 4 aren't just putting their toe in the water, they are
going all in."
For as little as 99 cents per month - the cost of one block of power - members can choose to receive some or all of their electricity from this renewable
power source. They can purchase up to 100 percent of their electricity use as
long as that equals no more than 16 blocks of solar power. This prevents one
large user of power - commercial and industrial accounts are eligible - from
buying all of the solar output.
Wabash Valley Power Association, the wholesale power supplier for Citizens
Electric, built solar parks located in the three states where it provides power:
Missouri, Indiana and Illinois. Because the three locations are on different latitudes, there is a greater chance weather conditions will be beneficial for solar
power generation in at least one location. Each location is capable of producing
around 500 kilowatts. Together that is enough power for 250 typical homes.
Boone Electric Cooperative based in Columbia and Platte-Clay Electric
Cooperative in Kearney also have community solar projects installed at their
offices. Community solar projects like these are a good deal for members who
want to support renewable energy but can not afford the expense of installing
solar panels themselves or might not have a place to install them. These projects even offer benefits for renters and homeowners with too much shade.
For Steve and Ellen Frye, who own a farm and a business powered by Citizens Electric, the environmental benefits of the solar array convinced them to
sign on. The couple joined the program for their farm, but also made the choice
for the bed-and-breakfast they operate, Eggers and Company in Farrar.
"We hope that other members also will voluntarily contribute to this program
and that by showing interest and support in solar energy more solar fields will
be constructed," the two said. "It's like voting for clean energy by spending only
pennies per day."
Their business, located in an old general store built in 1896, is listed on the
National Register of Historic Places. Adding solar panels to the historic structure was not an option, but Citizens' solar program certainly was. Eggers and
Company Bed and Breakfast became the first commercial account added to the
Citizens Electric is excited about the quick response. It adds more diversity to the co-op's generation portfolio, which also includes coal, natural gas,
nuclear, landfill gas and wind power. "Wabash has told us that when the whole
program reaches 50 percent enrollment they will start looking at new sites,"
Steve Elsea says. "We are leading the pack. If there is another array built we
would like for it to be in Missouri."
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - December 2017
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - Intro
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - Contents
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - 4
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - 5
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - 6
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - 7
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Rural Missouri - December 2017 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - Cover4