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Clayton Company Helps Install Solar Panels at Missouri Botanical Garden

Microgrid Energy received assistance from Express Scripts on the project.

A Clayton-based company recently helped install more than 100 solar panels at a Missouri Botanical Garden facility, a news release states.

installed the 25-kilowatt array on the roof of the Commerce Bank Center for Science Education. The 110-panel system covers roughly 3,000 square feet and is expected to last for 30 years. It can be seen from Interstate 44 near Kingshighway.

The Garden had been wanting solar panels for the building's roof for some time but was not able to afford the project, Microgrid Chief Executive Rick Hunter stated in an e-mail.

"Microgrid proposed utilizing a unique partnership model that we had been developing, whereby a corporate sponsor could purchase the system on behalf of the Garden, utilize all of the incentives (many of which are not available to nonprofit organizations), fully depreciate the system, and then donate it to the Garden," Hunter stated. "This approach made the project zero cost to the Garden, while providing them with an excellent demonstration project that also would reduce their utility bills substantially. The corporate sponsor—Express Scripts—was able to sponsor an exciting and impactful project, and to do so at a low net cost."

The system cost $155,000 before incentives, Hunter stated.

Between four and six houses could be powered with the energy the system is expected to produce each year, according to the Feb. 14 release.

The panels are 40 inches wide, 65 inches long and 40 pounds heavy.

A touch-screen monitor in the lobby of the Garden building allows users to learn about solar energy and to chart the energy produced by the new array.

Express Scripts served as a corporate sponsor on the project.

The Commerce Bank Center, finished in 2003, provides space where children can learn about science and math, the Garden's Web site states. Teachers can also use it for professional development.

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