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St Louis, MO
Engineer and Constructor (EPC) for 1.1 MW Ground-Mount PV System
Ameren Missouri selected Azimuth Energy for this design-build project in early 2018. This is the first community solar project owned by an Investor Owned Utility (IOU) in Missouri. (We also built the first community solar project in Missouri in 2014 for Columbia Water and Light in Columbia, MO.)
The schedule for this project was longer than usual due to the extensive permitting and approval processes. Engineering was completed in the summer of 2018, and then Ameren sought and earned approval from the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) to sell subscriptions and build the project. The subscriptions sold out in less than a month, construction started in the spring of 2019, and completed early summer 2019. Because of the schedule timeline, the solar modules proposed initially had to be upsized twice as the result of normal market improvement over time increased the power classes on the modules.
This project is technically considered “on airport”, and hence had to comply with the extensive aviation safety requirements from the Federal Aviation Administration. These mainly focus on elevation and obstacle clearance and the potential for harmful glint and glare from the solar modules that could affect pilots or air traffic controllers.
The first compliance step was the glint and glare analysis. The initial, conventional designs did not clear this hurdle, so we re-designed the project several times to get the glare below the allowable thresholds. Next, we had to reduce the height of all components – array tables, fencing, and even security lighting and cameras – to remain below the elevation thresholds for aviation safety.
Lastly, to avoid running afoul of environmental regulations, we had to reduce the footprint of the array further to comply with St Louis County and Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) requirements. Since we have Missouri-licensed Professional Engineers with both environmental compliance and aviation/aerodrome expertise, we were able to clear these hurdles and get the engineering completed on time.
The land used for this project was reclaimed fill resulting from an airport expansion project several years ago. The slope was rolling, resulting in the array tables also rolling as they follow the ground slope. These alterations are what resulted in the array having the appearance that you can see below in the image taken from the window of an airliner. (Since the array is on the airport property, it is not possible to fly a drone to take pretty pictures of the completed project!)
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