Consumers Energy in Michigan expands program to buy back solar power; How does it compare to NIPSCO FIT available in NW Indiana? August 24, 2011Posted by Laura Arnold in Feed-in Tariffs (FiT), Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), Voluntary Clean Energy Portfolio Standard Program.
Tags: Consumers Energy based in Jackson Michigan, Consumers Energy Experimental Renewable Program, Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), Northern Indiana Public Service Company
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.
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.