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Solar canopies to be installed at Show Me Center

Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 11:39 AM CDT|Updated: Nov. 3, 2021 at 4:59 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - New solar canopies will be installed on Southeast Missouri State University’s campus.

Ameren Missouri teamed up with Southeast as part of its goal to expand renewable energy sources in the region.

“We appreciate that Southeast Missouri State University is partnering with us to use two of its parking lots to double as solar energy generation,” said Russ Burger, southeast division director for Ameren Missouri. “This installation is a valuable project for the community as an opportunity to grow apprenticeships and construction jobs, educational opportunities and clean energy.”

The solar canopies will be placed on the north and south parking lots of Southeast’s Show Me Center on N. Sprigg Street. You can see renderings of the solar canopies here or below.

Russell Burger, with Ameren Missouri, explained what makes solar energy different.

“This is a renewable type of energy; Ameren is marching towards a carbon-free production of energy and we have a net carbon goal of 2050,″ Burger said.

This project has a price tag of about $5 million and creates around 60 construction jobs.

“It’s going to put a lot of people to work and provide additional parking benefits for our community,” Burger said.

According to a release from Ameren, installing the canopy-style panels makes the most of available space at the Show Me Center without compromising any parking. It also provides shade and weather protection for the cars parked underneath them.

Brad Sheriff is the vice president of Finance at Southeast Missouri State University.

He said there’s a possibility the university will provide some educational opportunities related to the solar canopies.

“Those discussions are ongoing. We don’t really know yet what that’s going to look like so stay tuned there, but we really are both interested in leveraging this for student learning, as well as the other obvious benefits of having this kind of an installation on campus,” Sheriff said.

Construction began on October 25 and will work around Show Me Center events.

The solar panels are expected to be in service in July 2022.

Together, the 3,500 solar modules will provide 1.2 megawatts of energy, which is enough to power more than 130 homes for a year.

“We are excited to work with Ameren Missouri to bring more renewable energy to southeast Missouri and provide educational opportunities to our students and community about this important topic,” said Southeast President Dr. Carlos Vargas. “This solar installation is a great addition to our campus sustainability efforts and demonstrates the commitment of the University and our entire Redhawk community has to a greener, cleaner future.”

Ameren Missouri announced it also teamed up with Maryland Heights Community Center in St. Louis County on a similar project.

Another Neighborhood Solar installation began producing clean energy in summer 2021 at the South St. Louis Renewable Energy Center at Habitat for Humanity St. Louis.

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