use of fossil
percent by 2020.
The act also revises the state’s net-metering and interconnection rules. Historically, Michigan’s investor-owned
utilities (IOUs) have charged high fees for grid connection
and reimbursed small-scale providers at less than the retail
rate. Under the act, systems of less than 20 k W should soon
receive full retail rates. We expect that the interconnection
process will soon become uniform. Utilities will streamline
the interconnection process and share the cost of required
additional equipment fairly with the renewable energy
Michigan’s largest IOUs are DTE Energy (dteenergy.
com) in Detroit and surrounding territory and Consumers
Energy ( consumersenergy.com) in the central and northern sections of the lower peninsula. These large companies
are now filing RPS plans, for approval by the MPSC. It is
not clear yet what programs may receive approval or will
need to be negotiated. It is possible that the utilities will
implement incentives specifically for PV system owners.
Other portions of the state are served by municipal or rural
cooperative utilities. These are not regulated by the MPSC
and are not required to take up new initiatives under the RPS.
In her 2009 State of the State speech, Granholm called
for reducing Michigan’s use of fossil fuel-generated electricity 45 percent by 2020. This would be accomplished
with both energy efficiency and new renewable sources.
In July 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy selected Ann
Arbor as a Solar City, one of 13 cities around the country to
serve as a model for the integration of solar energy. Ann Arbor
will integrate solar technologies into city energy planning,
zoning and facilities; streamline city-level regulations and
practices that affect solar adoption by residents and local businesses; and promote solar technology among residents and
local businesses through outreach, curriculum development
and incentive programs. GLREA is training and educating
installers, teachers and the general public about the program.
State Dollars Funding New projects
In April, the MPSC awarded several contracts to provide assistance and incentives for renewable energy use
and energy-efficiency measures. Public Sector Consultants
( pscinc.com) got $8.1 million to establish Michigan
Saves, a statewide energy-efficiency and renewable energy
financing system designed to free utility customers of up-front costs for upgrades. The MSPC also gave $5.5 million
to the Renewable Schools program. The money will cover
energy audits, renewable energy system installations and
associated curricula. Local governments received $8.5
million to assist with energy-efficiency measures and
renewable energy system installations and to leverage
local funding opportunities. ST