[The following letter was sent to state Sen. Dan Lauwers, chair of the Senate Energy and Technology Committee, and state Rep. Joe Bellino, chair of the House Energy Committee, on Oct. 5]
Dear Chairman Lauwers and Chairman Bellino:
Last October, when Senator McBroom and Representative Markkanen introduced Senate Bill 597 and House Bill 5145, the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (Michigan EIBC) set out a clear goal to address the serious threat to Michigan’s solar installers posed by the current distributed generation (DG) caps. Michigan EIBC has been negotiating in good faith to address this threat with all interested parties for the last year.
Unfortunately for Michigan EIBC’s members, Michigan’s solar industry, and customers across the state, we recently learned that the DG cap for residential customers was reached in UPPCo’s territory on or around September 18, 2020. In addition, according to Consumers Energy’s Distribution Agreements & Programs Division via an email received on September 28, 2020, the Company’s residential program was 89.53% full, the commercial program was 89.61% full, and “at the monthly rate it is expected that full capacity can be reached as early as December.”
As we have repeatedly communicated to you and your committees, once these DG caps are reached, customers and solar installers have absolutely no certainty that they will be interconnected to the grid, no guarantees of timelines or fees currently afforded to small solar customers, no required dispute resolution process, and no idea how or if the energy they produce will be credited. Our members and their employees are staring down a serious, unknown cliff, and without action from you and your Committees the solar industry in Michigan is likely to suffer the loss of many well-paying jobs.
We continue to hope you will take action to pass a clean bill to increase the DG caps to allow the industry a runway for the next two to three years while the MPSC completes additional studies and until a larger energy legislation re-write.
Dr. Laura S. Sherman
President, Michigan EIBC