Michigan has been very progressive with its solar stance of late. Utility scale, commercial scale, and residential systems are on the rise. In fact, the state is in the top 30 (28th to be exact) in the nation for solar installations. The 15 megawatts of installed solar capacity in Michigan is enough to power almost 4,000 homes.
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Here are some key numbers about the Great Lakes State’s solar installation activity to date;*
- There are approximately 200 solar companies in Michigan. 2,100 people currently have employment with them.
- $10 million of solar investments was injected into the state in 2014.
- About 3 megawatts of solar was installed in 2014, ranking the state 32nd for that year. This is an impressive 33 percent more than 2013.
- Prices for solar are about 6 percent lower than 2013.
There are quite a few large scale solar installations in Michigan. Notable commercial installations include IKEA’s 1 megawatt rooftop system and Ford and GM’s installs at about 500 kilowatts each. Michigan’s major utility, DTE Energy, has also helped spur multiple solar farms from 500 kilowatts to a megawatt in size. A plan for the largest, by far, solar installation at 20 megawatts is in the works by the Lansing Board of Water and Light.***
Michigan’s net metering policy is in quite fair. Residential customers can have pv system sizes as large as 20 kilowatts. Compensation for excess generation is done at the retail rate. The aggregate capacity limit needs raising as it stands at only 0.75 percent.**
The state’s Renewables Portfolio Standard needs updating as its targets only extend to 2015. Utilities were required to provide at least 10 percent of their energy from renewables by 2015. This represented a capacity of 600 megawatts.**
The solar contractors in Michigan can now service the entire state. A large majority of the approximately 80 installers primarily work in the Detroit and Grand Rapids areas. These locations include Rochester Hills, Pontiac, Bloomfield Township, Farmington Hills, Southfield, Royal Oak, Dearborn Heights, Mt. Clemens, Novi, Canton, Wyoming, Muskegon, and Holland. Other commonly served cities include Lansing, Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Mt. Pleasant, Midland, Saginaw, and Flint to name a few.
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*Information and figures gathered from seia.org.
**Information and figures gathered from dsireusa.org.
***Information and figures gathered from wikipedia.org.