LANSING (WWJ) — The Michigan Public Service Commission has issued its net metering and solar pilot program report, showing an increase of 55 percent in the program’s size over 2011.
Under a net metering program, when customers produce electric energy in excess of their needs, power is provided back to the serving utility, permitting the customer to receive a credit.
“Michigan electric customers in 2012 continue to install solar and wind generation onsite at a significant pace to offset their electric usage, and participation is taking place in every region of the state,” said MPSC Chairman John D. Quackenbush. “And with the installation of a 535-Kilowatt methane digester project in Great Lakes Energy Cooperative’s service territory, Michigan now has its first Category 3 modified net metering project.” Category 3 projects are projects up to 550 kW.
Since 2008, when Public Act 295 required the establishment of a statewide net metering program, net metering has increased by 1,277 customers.
The report noted that the number of net metering customers increased from 1,015 in 2011 to 1,330 in 2012. The total size of the net metering program increased 55 percent to 9,583 kW in 2012.
Solar was the most popular, with an additional 294 customer installations totaling 2,665 kW in 2012; wind followed with 42 additional customer installations totaling 223 kW in 2012.
Also significant is the increase in Category 2 net metering customers. Consumers Energy, DTE Electric and Thumb Electric Cooperative reported 19 customers participating in the Category 2 size range, compared to four customers in 2011. Category 2 projects are more than 20 kW and less than 150 kW.
Category 1 projects, those up to 20 kW, account for 84 percent of the total net metering program capacity. The state’s two largest utilities — Consumers Energy and DTE Electric, host 81 percent of the statewide total net metering program capacity.
The entire report is available at http://www.michigan.gov/netmetering. The MPSC’s renewable energy website includes information on net metering and how to become a net metering customer.