The Cottleville Fire Stations are looking a little different lately, solar panels are covering the roofs of three of four stations. The Cottleville Fire District has joined a
state renewable energy program that incentivizes going solar. This program is managed through the Missouri AmerenUE Solar Rebate and Incentive program. This program aims to boost the use of photovoltaic energy and reduce the cost to residents and businesses through offering energy rebates to customers that participate in this program.
The more residents and business owners who sign on to have solar panels installed at their home or business, the more the cost drops. They can either purchase a solar energy system directly or enter into a lease or power purchase agreement. The Cottleville Fire District choose the lease option, in which the installer will own and maintain the panels while the home or business owner purchases the power generated at a reduced rate. The Cottleville Fire District will lease the solar panels on a 20 year “lease or power agreement” meaning that they will purchase power generated at a reduced rate, and at the end of 20 years, will renegotiate their lease terms.
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group based in Washington D.C., there was 2013 was another record year for the U.S. solar industry. There were 4,751 MW of new photovoltaic (PV) capacity installed in 2013, representing a 41 percent increase in deployment over installation levels in 2012. Solar accounted for 29 percent of all new electricity generation capacity added in 2013, up from just 10 percent in 2012, which made solar the second largest source of new electricity generating capacity behind natural gas. The record year was driven in part by historical growth in the fourth quarter, as 2,106 MW came online in Q4 alone.