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Missouri: Solar energy gets reprieve

The Missouri solar rebate program, enacted by voters in Prop C's Renewable Energy Standard, received strong support this week in two critical decisions. First, the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) voted unanimously to deny Ameren and KCPL's requests to stop their solar rebate programs. The PSC ordered them to continue paying the rebates for at least 120 days.

The second major victory for solar and renewable energy was Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green's setting aside of his previous ruling from June 29th that the solar rebates were unconstitutional. The $2 per watt rebate was challenged by a lawsuit brought by the Missouri Retailers Association against the PSC. Attorneys for Renew Missouri and the Missouri Solar Energy Industries Association filed motions to intervene in the case, and Green announced he will consider their applications for intervention over the next month.

This is good news for Missouri solar businesses who feared massive layoffs, as well as for all Missouri utility customers who will now, once again, be able to apply for up to $50,000 apiece in rebates to go towards solar systems up to 25 kilowatts in size. Dane Glueck, president of MOSEIA, said, "So far, the solar rebate program has resulted in hundreds of new solar arrays on homes and businesses in the St Louis and Kansas City areas, and grown Missouri's solar industry from less than five companies in 2008 to over 35 today."

Although these positive recent actions are a step in the right direction, they only provide a short-term reprieve for Missouri's solar program. "What is needed is for all parties to understand and embrace the positive impacts of solar and renewable energy in order to move us into a more secure, stable energy future," explained PJ Wilson Director of Renew Missouri. "The sooner this happens, the better for our state."

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