It’s now easier for Michigan’s residents to go solar. The Michigan Public Service Commission established new rates for renewable energy in the state, which will spur private investments in renewable energy and solar power in the state.
“The Commission adopted a strong methodology that reflects the value solar provides to Michigan during peak periods,” said Margrethe Kearney, senior staff attorney with the Environmental Law & Policy Center in Grand Rapids, Mich. “This decision makes Michigan more attractive for renewable energy development at no additional cost to ratepayers.”
It’s the latest step for expanding renewable energy use in the state. Late last year, the state announced it would expand the state’s renewable energy portfolio standard from 10 percent to 15 percent by 2021 and to at least 35 percent in 2025. It’s utilities already reached the 10 percent threshold earlier this year.
Under the commission’s ruling Consumers Energy will have to pay avoided cost rates to renewable energy facilities in Michigan for the power they produce and put on the grid. It also makes the development and financing process easier by establishing 20-year contracts at a standard rate for projects up to 2 megawatts in size, previously only projects up to 100 kilowatts in size were eligible.
The new ruling updates the state’s rate structure for the time in 25 years and brings it into compliance with Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA). The act encourages renewable energy development by requiring utilities to purchase energy from small qualified cogeneration and renewable energy providers. It also establishes “avoided costs” and “must-buy prices” that utilities are required to pay to small renewable energy providers.
“The Commission correctly recognized the significant long-term value of solar to Michigan, and the need to update old rules to capture that value,” said Rick Umoff, Director of State Affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “Solar companies can now ratchet up investment in Michigan’s economy, creating well-paying jobs and providing clean reliable energy to the state.”
“The Commission’s decision to enable a level playing field for clean energy will launch a new wave of solar development in Michigan,” added Becky Stanfield, senior director of western states at Vote Solar. “Michigan’s leadership demonstrates to regulators and lawmakers across the country how to attract private investments, build a clean energy economy, and create local jobs that can’t be outsourced.”Tweet