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For the first time, Ameren Missouri customers can choose to receive the benefits of solar energy without installing a solar panel on their roof.

Ameren officials announced Tuesday the company is launching the Community Solar program, a new clean energy option available for all residential and small business customers who support renewable energy but don't have the space available for solar panels.

"Customers have complete control in the Community Solar Program and may select to enroll for up to half of their average annual energy use from this clean energy source," Matt Forck, assistant vice president of community, economic development and energy solutions at Ameren Missouri, said in a news release.

A new, 1-megawatt solar facility, to be built just north of St. Louis Lambert International Airport, will supply the energy. Panels could be in service as soon as next summer, company officials said.

Customers can visit to enroll.

Forck said the program is something customers have asked for, particularly those who want to take part in generating renewable energy but rent their home, live in an area with large trees and shading issues, or don't have the means necessary to otherwise participate.

Ameren has a goal of cutting carbon emissions from their energy generation by 80 percent by 2050, Forck added.