Solar installers involved about shedding market in Michigan


Some solar panel installers are considering leaving Michigan, according to an industry group. That’s because they believe sales will drop dramatically because there is a limit to the amount of residential and commercial solar energy that a utility company must allow.

A 2016 law puts a cap on some external renewable energy sources based on one percent of the average peak demand of a utility. Consumers Energy is on the verge of reaching this peak.

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Laura Sherman is the President of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council. She says solar panel installers believe solar systems will end up in residential and commercial areas across much of Michigan.

“They are trying to figure out how this can move their business elsewhere because they no longer see that there is a market in Michigan,” Sherman said.

There is bipartisan legislation that would lift the caps and restore a higher compensation rate that ended with the 2016 law. Consumers Energy rejects this legislation.

“We urged lawmakers to fix this. We can have a longer conversation about how much this sun will be worth later. But it doesn’t make sense to us to just restrict a market completely, ”said Sherman.

A statement from Consumers Energy when the cap is reached does not mean that solar systems need to be stopped or that they cannot be plugged into the grid and paid for excess electricity. However, reaching the cap means that the utility won’t pay that much. Some estimates suggest that solar power will receive about half the price currently paid.

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