ST. LOUIS — Ameren announced Friday that it has reached deals to sell renewable energy credits from a planned solar farm to several large companies in the St. Louis region, including General Motors and SSM Health.

The arrangements are part of a new initiative from the St. Louis-based power company called the Renewable Solutions program, which enables commercial energy users to buy clean energy offsets at a cost premium.

“It is a premium that they’ve actually asked for,” said Patrick Smith, Ameren Missouri’s vice president of economic, community and business development. “This has really been something some of these large industrial and commercial customers have indicated they wanted and need.”

Ameren said the credits provide customers with a “tangible way to denote their own reduction in emissions.”

It inked deals with 10 organizations in total, also including Bi-State Development, Emerson, Mastercard, Walmart and bioMérieux. The program may be expanded in the future, to give additional options to the region’s commercial, industrial, and governmental customers.

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Ameren did not disclose specific amounts of electricity offsets sold to each entity. But the utility said that it received nearly twice as much demand as its 150-megawatt solar farm in Southern Illinois’ White County will be able to serve, with the organizations initially aiming to buy a combined 269 megawatts of capacity. Ultimately, they each received a pro-rated amount of the power they sought.

“We’re excited about being over-subscribed because it means that it’s something that customers want,” said Smith.

The new initiative is similar to Ameren’s existing Community Solar program, which offers residential customers and small businesses the opportunity to buy “blocks” of offsets from some far smaller solar projects built in Missouri.

But “this is really our first large-scale opportunity for subscription solar,” said Smith. The White County project will be 25 times as large as Ameren’s largest solar facility running at present.

Ameren originally announced plans for the Illinois solar farm in February, and aims to complete it in 2024. The electric generation from the facility will be able to power the equivalent of 27,500 homes, according to the company.


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