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Consumers Energy in Michigan expands program to buy back solar power; How does it compare to NIPSCO FIT available in NW Indiana? August 24, 2011

Posted by Laura Arnold in Feed-in Tariffs (FiT), Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), Voluntary Clean Energy Portfolio Standard Program.
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Dear Readers:
I thought this information about Consumer’s Energy about their Experimental Advanced Renewable Program (EARP) in Michigan might be of interest to you.  Consumer’s Energy is merely adding an additional 3 MW to this program so it is dwarfed by Northern Indiana Public Service Company’s (NIPSCO) recently approved feed-in tariff (FIT) which is capped at 30 MW. It looks to me like NIPSCO’s FIT outshines this program offered by Consumers Energy. 
I don’t claim to be an expert on this program offered by Consumers Energy. But if you are interested in the details please see the information about a public meeting on August 30, 2011 in Lansing, Michigan. Don’t worry there is also an option to participate via an On-Line Broadcast. EARP Public Mtg Info
It is interesting to note that this EARP is designed to meet Michigan’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). This is the same concept I recently recommended in my written comments for IDEA to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) concerning the proposed rulemaking to implement Indiana’s Voluntary Clean Energy Portfolio Standard (IN VCEPS) created by SEA 251. See Letter to Beth Krogel Roads_IURC RM #11-05_IDEA Comments_15Aug2011 Interesting don’t you think? Maybe my idea isn’t that crazy afterall.
Laura Ann Arnold
Original article: http://www.detnews.com/article/20110816/BIZ/108160400/1361/Consumers-Energy-expands-program-to-buy-back-solar-power

Last Updated: August 16. 2011  10:27AM

Melissa Burden/ The Detroit News

Consumers Energy is rolling out another round of its popular program to buy  renewable energy generated by solar systems owned by its customers, the  Jackson-based company said Tuesday.

The utility’s Experimental Advanced  Renewable Program has added 2 megawatts of electricity through solar panels on  roofs and in yards at 102 locations across the state. Following recent Michigan  Public Service Commission approval, the program is creating an additional 3  megawatts, Consumers Energy said in a news release.

Utility customers pay for solar installations on their own and enter into  15-year contracts with Consumers Energy to sell energy created via the systems  back to the utility, said Dan Bishop, a Consumers Energy spokesman. Consumers  Energy provides electric service in 61 counties in the Lower Peninsula.

Through this round of the program, however, customers will be paid less per  kilowatt hour of electricity generated, down from about 40 to 50 cents per  kilowatt hour to a high of 25.9 kilowatt hour for the first 125 kilowatts sold,  according to Bishop and Consumers Energy.

Customer applications will be  accepted near the end of August. More information about the program is available  at www.consumersenergy.com/EARP .

mburden@detnews.com

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20110816/BIZ/108160400/Consumers-Energy-expands-program-to-buy-back-solar-power#ixzz1VTrgXvxL

For more information about this entire case before the MPSC see: http://efile.mpsc.state.mi.us/efile/viewcase.php?casenum=16543

On July 26, 2011, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) issued an Order in MPSC Case No. U-16543 that approved Consumers Energy Company’s plan to expand the Experimental Advanced RenewableProgram (EARP).  The EARP provides for the long term purchase of renewable energy generated by customer-owned solar photovoltaic generators. Installation of EARP Phase 1 and Phase 2 generators were recently completed at 102 locations and provide approximately 2 MW of direct current (DC) solar nameplate capacity.

Consumers Energy plans to solicit applications and begin accepting applications for Phase 3 of the EARP near the end of August. Phase 3 will award approximately 250 kW of contracts for non-residential capacity in the fourth quarter of 2011.  Phase 4 will award approximately 125 kW of contracts for residential capacity in the first quarter of 2012. The program expansion, occurring in 18 or more phases, will be  Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the EARP and is expected to add 3 MW of additional customer-owned solar generation capacity to the Company’s renewable energy portfolio. This new program will feature a standard offer price of between $0.20 and $0.26 per kWh.

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