The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) issued a ruling finalizing the rates and standard contract terms that Consumers Energy Co., one of Michigan’s largest investor-owned utilities, must pay for energy and capacity from solar energy facilities and other independent power producers under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA).
The MPSC originally determined Consumers’ avoided cost rates in an order issued last November, but was reviewing additional feedback provided by the solar industry, Consumers Energy and other stakeholders. Under federal law, these costs must be at or below the cost the utility would pay to buy power on the market or generate from its own portfolio. The MPSC also ruled that it will revisit a range of related issues in Consumers’ pending Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) proceeding that will be concluded sometime next year.
Following is a statement on today’s ruling from Sean Gallagher, vice president of state affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA):
“The MPSC’s ruling provides much-needed certainty in the Michigan solar market, which has experienced delayed project development and a lack of substantial solar industry investment. With these rates in place, Consumers Energy can begin investing in cost-effective solar projects to the benefit of its customers. However, there is still more work to do, and how the MPSC rules on Consumers’ Integrated Resource Plan will play a big role in determining the future of clean energy in Michigan.”
With 118 megawatts (MW) installed, enough solar energy to power 18,500 homes, Michigan ranks 33rd in the country for installed solar capacity. Today’s decision paves the way for a dramatic increase in installed solar capacity in Michigan. Michigan’s solar market is forecast to add 605 MW of solar over the next five years, a 347 percent growth rate, the 5th largest percentage growth of any state. These forecasts could grow substantially, depending on the MPSC’s ruling on Consumers Energy’s IRP.
Have you checked out our YouTube page?
We have a ton video interviews and additional content on our YouTube page. Recently we debuted Power Forward! -- a collaboration with BayWa r.e. to discuss higher level industry topics as well as best practices / trends for running a solar business today.
Our longer running side project is The Pitch -- in which we have awkward discussions with solar manufacturers and suppliers about their new technology and ideas so that you don't have to. We've discusses everything from residential rail-less deck attaching and home solar financing to large-scale energy storage value stacking and utility-driven new home solar + storage microgrids.
We also post our Project of the Year announcements there! Interviews with this year's winners will be up starting the week of Nov. 8. Head there and subscribe today to stay on top of all this extra stuff.