Belleau Farm displays solar panels
By Nancy Cambria
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Wednesday, Oct. 24 2007
O'FALLON, MO. — Less than 100 yards from his stone and timber home, just down
the driveway from a stable full of muddy all-terrain vehicles, Adolphus Busch
IV is the proud owner of five new massive solar panels, angled toward the sun
atop steel structures resembling white football goal posts.
The $100,000 system makes Busch owner of the region's largest personal solar
power plant, according to energy officials.
On Tuesday, Busch, 54, powered up his growing devotion to environmental causes
when he opened the gates to his secluded Belleau Farm estate and let the public
in. Busch, along with several proponents of renewable energy, held a news
conference to celebrate solar power and its potential to become a part of the
everyday lives of farmers and homeowners.
Although he is an heir to the Anheuser-Busch fortune, he's been a fairly
reserved member of the clan. He's lived on his 2,000 acre working farm in the
Mississippi River flood plain near O'Fallon since the 1970s, mostly overseeing
fields of corn, wheat and soybeans and a small herd of lumbering longhorn
But as development in booming St. Charles County continues, Busch has
increasingly used his clout and deep pockets to pepper the St. Charles County
political scene. He's backed local candidates with an environmental bent and
fought development on the flood plain through his conservation group, Great
Rivers Habitat Alliance.
His 10-kilowatt solar electric generation system, installed by Farmergy of
Kirkwood, is designed to power his home and several barns and outbuildings.
The massive towers are expected to cut Busch's $1,500 in energy costs by half,
and pay for themselves in a little over 10 years
Three of the five solar panels that make up the recently completed largest privately-owned solar-electric generation system in the region stand outside of one of the homes of Adolphus Busch IV at the Historic Belleau Farms in St. Charles County.
(Tom McCarthy Jr. /P-D)