makes solar energy up to 50% more affordable for customers who
purchase and install a solar photovoltaic (PV) system on their home
Solar Currents is a new pilot program offered by Detroit Edison.
It’s designed to reduce:
Detroit Edison has been authorized by the Michigan Public
Service Commission to partially reimburse customers for installing
solar PV systems, up to $25 million in total.
Not only can you receive a generous payment upon installation,
but you will receive a credit on your energy bill for the next 20
years. This is in addition to
federal tax credits and any other
from your state, county, or municipality!
In return, Detroit Edison will receive all rights to any
Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) allocated to that renewable
generation. It’s all part of our commitment to develop more sources
of clean, renewable energy for Michigan.
We are currently accepting applications for both residential and
How to determine what size system qualifies for NET metering.
The first step is to estimate the energy you
expect to produce annually from available wind at the
installed height and the unit performance characteristics
for units you are considering. This is very sensitive to
local conditions, performance characteristics and height.
A term commonly used in the industry is
Capacity Factor which is expected output divided by
theoretical output. For example if you were considering a 5
kW unit and site and unit conditions indicated it would
produce 6,570 kWhr per year, the capacity factor would be
6,570 kWh/ (8760 hours *5kW) or 15 percent.
The next step would be to total the amount
of electricity that you use from your last twelve electric
bills to get your annual use and divide that number by 8760
to get your average hourly use. For example if your 12
electric bills showed you used 14,450 kWh per year that
would be 1.65 kW per hour on average.
The next step would be to determine the size
needed by dividing the 1.65 kW/hour use by the capacity
factor of 15%. This would indicate you would need to install
an 11 kW unit to produce your annual needs.
The sensitivity of output to location and
unit specific characteristics is demonstrated by units in
the net metering program in place from late 2007 through mid
2009. Wind units in that program have operated at annual
capacity factors ranging from 4 to 24 percent. A 5kW unit
operating at these extremes would produce 1,752 kWh per year
at the low end to 10,512 kWh per year at the high end.
Consequently, to properly size your unit it is essential
that your specific conditions be considered.
The exact same procedure would be used to
size a solar installation. However, solar units are less
sensitive to site conditions (assuming all installations
would be in unshaded areas with the proper inclination and
The lack of sensitivity for solar
installations is demonstrated by units in the net metering
program in place from late 2007 through mid 2009. Solar
units in that program have operated at annual capacity
factors of 14 to 15.5 percent. A 5kW unit operating at these
extremes would produce 6,132 kWh/year at the low end to
6,789 kWh/year at the high end.
Experimental Advanced Renewable Program EARP.
Consumers Energy is accepting applications for a limited number
of customers that generate electricity using solar photovoltaic
systems and want to sell it back to the utility for a set price.
This pilot program is called Experimental Advanced Renewable
Program (EARP) and is part of the Renewable Energy Plan outlined in
state law as part of public act 295 of 2008. The program is limited
to 2,000 kilowatts (kW) of capacity, with 500 kW reserved for
How the Program Works
The program offers the following rates for energy produced by
qualifying solar photovoltaic systems:
For the first 250 kW
of residential capacity, the EARP rate is $0.65/kilowatt-hour
(kWh). For the second 250 kW of residential capacity, the EARP
rate is $0.525/kWh. A residential system that is offered the
$0.65/kWh rate must be installed by May 1st, to qualify.
(This changes with every Phase)
For the first 750 kW of
nonresidential capacity, the EARP rate is $0.45/kWh. For the
second 750 kW of nonresidential capacity the EARP rate is
$0.375/kWh. A nonresidential system that is offered the $0.45/kWh
rate must be installed by May 1st, to qualify. Please check
site for current info.
EARP Program Info
The rates paid to participant systems will be fixed under
contract for up to 12 years. Residential systems must have a DC
nameplate capacity of at least 1 kW, with a maximum capacity of 20
kW. Commercial (nonresidential) systems must have a minimum
nameplate capacity of 20 kW, with a maximum capacity of 150 kW.
Systems equipped with a battery back up system or other energy
storage systems will not be allowed to participate under the EARP
pilot. Energy produced by the solar energy system must be metered
separately from the customer’s existing electric service, and the
utility will own any renewable energy credits and capacity
associated with the system.
Any energy consumed by the system when not operating will be
billed at the customer's normal retail rate GS for kWh units, with
all associated taxes and fees. Participants also will be assessed a
System Access Charge equivalent to the existing distribution
customer account used to qualify for the program to cover metering