MI Legislative: Lifting the 1% Cap for Solar

GLREA is working along with other renewable energy supporters, to update the law regarding how many small solar systems the regulated utilities are obligated to connect to the Grid under the Net-Metering - Distributive Generation Tariff program.

When Michigan's Energy Law (Public Act 295) was first enacted in 2008, there was a section that limited the number of small scale solar systems that the utilities had to connect to 1% of the energy load for each utility. Back in 2008, this 1% Cap wasn't a concern because there were very few solar systems in Michigan. But now there is 5,219 solar energy systems in Michigan and we are getting very close to hitting this 1% Cap. The Upper Peninsula Power Company has already hit the 1% Cap and they voluntarily agreed to lift the Cap to 2% but they are now getting close to hitting this new Cap. Consumers Energy is expected to hit this 1% Cap by the end of 2020 and DTE is expected to hit the 1% in late 2021.

Senator Ed McBroom introduced Senate Bill 597 which would eliminate this 1% Cap entirely. There are two major reasons why this Cap should be eliminated. First, all homeowners and business should have the option and the right to generate their own energy and be connected to the Grid. Second, the new Distributive Generation (DG) Tariff that solar owners are now being compensated (for the extra solar energy they put on the Grid), includes the cost to the solar owner of helping to pay for maintaining the Grid. In other words, the Public Service Commission says that with this new DG Tariff solar owners are no longer being subsidized by the utility. So if new solar owners are no longer being subsidized and they are paying their fair share to maintain the Grid, then there is no reason to limit the number of homeowners, farmers or small business that can install a solar system.

But the utilities are opposing Senate Bill 597 because they want to limit the number of solar owners in the Distributive Generation program. They don't like homeowners and small business generating their own energy, because the utilities want them to buy electricity from them, even though the cost of buying utility electricity keeps going up and they ask for a rate increase every year. The utilities want to preserve their monopoly business so they are opposing any effort to expand solar for homeowners and small business.

GLREA is working to educate legislators on SB 597 on how solar saves money, creates jobs and promotes a clean environment. If you would like to help, first become a Member of GLREA and then contact John Freeman Jfreeman13@comcast.net to offer to write letters and make phone calls.

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Email: JFreeman13@comcast.net

Phone: 313-655-7945

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