DTE Energy announced last week that the customer-owned portion of its SolarCurrents program has become fully subscribed.

Under this program, DTE Energy has been providing financial incentives for customers who install solar energy systems on their homes and businesses. Applications already received are eligible to receive incentives offered under the initial program, but no new applications will be accepted.

“The SolarCurrents program demonstrated that financial incentives can spur significant growth and interest in an emerging renewable technology,” said Trevor Lauer, DTE Energy vice president, Marketing & Renewables. “We are proud of the role this program has played in helping Michigan’s solar industry transition to become a viable and growing industry within our state.”

DTE Energy’s SolarCurrents program has two components – a pilot program for customer-owned solar installations which has met its goal of five megawatts (MW), and one for utility-owned installations which has a goal of 15 MW.

The program has offered financial incentives to DTE Energy customers who install and operate a solar photovoltaic (PV) system between 1 and 20 kilowatts (kW). Under the program parameters, DTE Energy has provided upfront payments as well as monthly credits on customers’ bills.

DTE Energy customers can still install solar energy systems – and work with the utility to connect them to their electric system. But DTE Energy will no longer provide financial incentives that were part of the initial pilot program.

SolarCurrents was started for DTE Energy to help meet the state’s renewable energy goals. The company plans to add about 1,200 megawatts of renewable energy – about 10 percent of its energy portfolio – by 2015.

DTE Energy plans to meet the state’s goals with a combination of its own projects and renewable energy purchased from other sources in the state. Although the bulk of the energy will come from wind turbines, the SolarCurrents program will contribute 20 megawatts.

The Detroit Science Center was the first commercial facility to sign a contract with Detroit Edison under this program. The 10-kilowatt system is part of a renewable energy exhibit currently on display. In total, the customer-owned program provided $25 million in incentives for nearly 500 installations.

DTE Energy will continue the utility-owned program, which involves constructing up to 15 megawatts of PV installations at DTE Energy-owned facilities, and on large customer rooftops or land.

Customers interested in this program must own a facility with at least 50,000 square feet of unobstructed roof in good condition, or a similarly sized area on the ground. For systems installed at customer sites, the customer will receive compensation for hosting the PV installation and Detroit Edison will operate and maintain the system.

As planned, the utility-owned program will represent one of the largest distributed solar energy programs in the country, providing scale volume opportunities to the emerging solar manufacturing industry in Michigan. DTE Energy plans to invest $112 million in the utility-owned program. Information about the utility-owned SolarCurrents program is available at dteenergy.com/dtesolar.

DTE Energy (NYSE:DTE) operating units include Detroit Edison, an electric utility serving 2.1 million customers in Southeastern Michigan, MichCon, a natural gas utility serving 1.2 million customers in Michigan and other non-utility, energy businesses focused on gas storage and pipelines, unconventional gas production, power and industrial projects, and energy trading.

More at www.dteenergy.com


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