Michigan EIBC celebrates Consumers Energy raising home solar limit

LANSING—Officials at the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council say they’re happy that Consumers Energy has raised its cap on energy from “distributed generation”—meaning individual consumers’ rooftop solar systems—to 2 percent of its total energy generation.

But they also say they’re going to continue to push for more.

Consumers Energy made the move Friday, Nov. 20, issuing a statement that it plans “to consider doubling our limited distribution generation incentive program for customers who want to install rooftop solar generation in Michigan starting Jan. 1, 2021. Through this voluntary step we continue to support customers who want to install rooftop solar generation and be paid for excess energy generated.”

Said Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman: “Today’s decision by Consumers Energy to raise the distributed generation cap to 2 percent is good news for Michigan families, small businesses and the booming Michigan solar industry. This commonsense decision will protect Michigan small businesses and jobs in the solar industry and shows the current solar cap is arbitrary, unnecessary, and an impediment to job growth. We call upon the Legislature to permanently eliminate the restrictive solar cap in Michigan.”

Consumers’ move came one day after Consumers filed a letter with the Michigan Public Service Commission announcing that the utility had reached the 1 percent net metering cap for residential and commercial solar installations.

Practically, for solar installers and customers, this means that Consumers will institute a waiting list until Jan. 1, 2021 for applications received after the 1 percent cap was reached. As of January 1, the distributed generation program will reopen with outflow credited at the new distributed generation tariff rate and with an overall program cap of 2 percent.

Over the last year, Michigan EIBC and our members have fought to eliminate or increase the DG cap.  Recent articles in MiBiz and Michigan Radio highlighted the negotiations at the legislature and the economic harm that will result in communities if the caps are not increased. A Nov. 13 mLive article gave a good overview of the issue and got the perspectives of Mark Hagerty from Michigan EIBC member Michigan Solar Solutions and Ken Zebarah of Michigan EIBC member Harvest Solar. “We’re worried about losing jobs and a thriving set of businesses that have been doing really well in the last few years,” Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman told mLive.

More at https://mieibc.org/.

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