FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Oct. 5, 2021
Participation in Michigan's distributed energy generation program grew in 2020, with program capacity increasing 37%, the Michigan Public Service Commission's annual distributed generation (DG) report found.
Since 2006, participation has grown every year. According to the MPSC's 2020 Distributed Generation Report released today, the program added more than 2,400 new customers, with the total rising to 10,553 and 10,718 installations. That's up from 8,147 customers and 8,331 installations in 2019. Some customers have multiple installations, so that number exceeds the total number of customers.
At the end of 2020, the total electric generation capacity of the installations was about 90,989 kilowatts (kW), an increase of 24,561 kW and 37% over the previous year. While growing, DG projects account for a small portion of total retail electricity sales in Michigan, at around 0.1%.
Through Michigan's DG program, customers generate their own electricity, primarily through solar and wind projects, to reduce their electric bills by reducing the amount of electricity they purchase from their utility. State law permits utilities to limit participation in the program at 1% of their five-year average peak electricity load, with half of this amount allocated to smaller, residential-sized systems, and the other half for larger projects. DTE Electric Co., Upper Peninsula Power Co. (UPPCO) and Indiana Michigan Power Co (I&M) have had Commission-approved DG program tariffs that replaced their net metering programs after the 2016 update to Michigan's energy laws, and they were joined in 2020 by Consumers Energy Co. DG program tariffs proposed in 2021 by Alpena Power Co. and Northern States Power Co. remain under review by the Commission.
The report covers DG enrollment in 2020 but also notes several developments that have happened since the end of 2020:
DG customers are increasingly pairing their generation battery storage. DTE Electric, Consumers Energy and I&M reported a combined 769 DG-enrolled customers with battery storage at a total capacity of 4,203 kW.
Other report highlights:
Michigan's 2016 energy laws called for the MPSC to transition to a distributed generation program from a net metering program. Once a utility's DG program is in effect, no new customers can join the net metering program, but current net metering customers can continue under that program's guidelines for 10 years from the day they enrolled. The net metering program is referred to as the legacy net metering program.
Read the 2020 Distributed Generation Program Report.