Newsletter: UPPCO Becomes First Utility to Reach its Net Metering Limit

This newsletter was originally published on August 8, 2016.

UPPCO Becomes First Utility to Reach its Net Metering Limit

The Upper Peninsula Power Company has become Michigan’s first regulated utility to reach its net metering limit since the program was created in 2008. The utility will no longer be accepting applications for net metering applications of 20kW or lower. UPPCO will still accept applications for larger installations.

Michigan created a net metering program during the 2008 energy debate in the state legislature. Under the program, Michigan’s regulated utilities must allow net-metered installations. The program is capped at 1 percent of a regulated utilities’ peak demand, divided between smaller residential projects and larger projects up to 150kW (or 550kW for anaerobic digesters). The state’s two major utilities, DTE and Consumers, have plenty of space within their net metering programs.

Three major items contributed to UPPCO reaching their cap ahead of others. The first is the rapidly declining cost of rooftop solar. Nearly 36 percent of all their applications were filed last year, all of them solar. Of the utility’s 109 net-metered installations, 90 percent are solar. The second factor is the rising electric rates in the Upper Peninsula, which makes solar more economically attractive – particularly as an opportunity to lock in energy costs against expected continuing increases in utility rates. The final contributing factor is the utility’s lower rate-base, which leads to lower peak demands and a lower cap.

Consumers Energy still has 94 percent of their cap space left, and DTE has 83 percent of their space left. The Michigan Public Service Commission will likely file their annual net metering report later this month.

New/Renewing Members

ITC Holdings

ITC Holdings Corp. invests in the electricity transmission grid to improve reliability, expand access to markets, lower the costs of delivered energy and allow new generating resources to interconnect to its transmission systems. The largest independent electricity transmission company in the country, ITC operates in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula

Michigan Energy News

Last month, Michigan EIBC visited Brewery Vivant’s ribbon cutting for their 54 kW solar array installed by Renovo. See some of the photos!

John Slagter of Michigan EIBC member Mackinac Technology Company has been nominated for the Governor’s Energy Excellence Award for “Innovator of the Year.” The Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards presentation will take place Thursday.

A 10,000 acre wind farm could be coming to Berrien County, Harbor Country News reports.

The Midcontinent Independent Service Operator (MISO) provided some additional information about the forward capacity auction proposal, Platts reports.

A study from Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Public Policy highlights the benefits to Michigan businesses and cities by implementing the Clean Power Plan, Public News Service reports.

The Michigan Department of Treasury bought 234,802 shares last quarter in Tesla Motors, MIRS reports.


National Energy News

Alternative Energy Mag interviewed Michigan EIBC Leadership Council member ITC about transmission’s role in an advanced energy future.

Apple will be able to sell its power, capacity and services to maintain it’s own reliability, according to a recent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Bloomberg reports.

Intel wants to make setting up smart buildings as easy as setting up a router, GreenTech Media reports.

Pacific Power reported that complying with Oregon’s new 50 percent RPS will have a negligible impact on electric rates, Utility Dive reports.

The Public Utility Commission of Texas will review possible alternative utility ratemaking mechanisms, Utility Dive reports.

The Energy Information Administration reported that the US should expect 45 percent of their power to come from renewables and nuclear by 2025, most coming from new renewables.

Julian Spector of GreenTech Media believes that the Tesla-SolarCity merger’s success is entirely dependent upon energy storage.


Michigan Energy Events
Michigan State University Extension will be hosting a tour of West Michigan dairy farms utilizing energy efficiency and renewable energy to save on electricity costs on August 17
The U.S. Department of Energy’s CHP Technical Assistance Partnership is hosting a half-day session on Combined Heat and Power Opportunities for Michigan Healthcare Providers on Monday, August 22 at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Detroit.

Michigan EIBC will be hosting a Bell’s Brewery Facility & Digester Tour on Tuesday, August 23, as a part of their industrial efficiency/combined heat and power roundtable. Event is for Michigan EIBC members, public officials and roundtable attendees. Want to become a Michigan EIBC member? Join now for $350!

SAVE THE DATE: Michigan EIBC members are invited to a tour of Ventower Industries on Monday, August 29. More details will follow. The event is for Michigan EIBC members only. Want to become a Michigan EIBC member? Join now for $350!

The next Michigan EIBC Michigan Energy Forum networking event will take place Thursday, September 8 at Rockford Construction in Grand Rapids. The event also includes a tour of Rockford’s operations and affiliated enterprises, as well as a policy update and opportunities for networking. The event is free for Michigan EIBC members; $25 for non-members.
The fifth annual Heating the Midwest with Renewable Biomass Conference will be held October 11-13 in Harris, Michigan at the Island Resort and Conference Center.

SAVE THE DATE: The 4th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala will be held Thursday, November 10 in East Lansing.

National Events
Solar Power International is scheduled for September 12-15 in Las Vegas.
The Battery Show, collocated with the Critical Power Expo and Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo, will be held in Novi from September 13-15.


Additional Resources
The Next Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant cycle is now open, awarding grants for renewable energy projects in rural communities and agricultural areas. REAP is open to Agricultural Producers and Rural Small Businesses. Grants can be used for the purchase, installation, and construction of a Renewable Energy System or Energy Efficiency Improvement. Rural Small Business Projects must be located in a rural area with populations of 50,000 or less. The Agricultural Producer Projects can be located in rural or non-rural areas. REAP Grants provide a 25% cash reimbursement of the total system costs, with a maximum grant of $500,000 for Renewable Energy Systems and $250,000 for Energy Efficiency Improvements.


Applications for projects with Total Project Costs of $80,000 or less are accepted through Monday, October 31, 2016. Applications for projects with Total Project Costs greater than $80,000 are accepted through Monday, May 1, 2017.



The Application Templates and Forms are available at USDA Rural Development Offices or the National Website at: under Forms and Resources.

Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is home to PowerSuite, a suite of tools that allows companies a one-stop on-line portal to search, track, and collaborate on state legislation and regulatory proceedings from around the country.
PowerSuite includes both BillBoard, the AEE dashboard for managing state legislation, and DocketDash, the AEE dashboard for managing state public utility commission proceedings. Subscription required. is a national solar permitting database that provides information on permitting for solar in jurisdictions across the country. The database includes a variety of information, from average permit turnaround times, to information required to be included in the permit, to contact information for individual jurisdictions. You can browse the requirements for the Michigan cities included in the database here.
The U.S. Department of Energy is offering A Guide to Federal Finance Facilities Available for Energy Efficiency Upgrades and Clean Energy Deployment. The downloadable guide provides information about the various federal financing programs available for energy efficiency and renewable energy — making it easier for state, local and tribal leaders, along with their partners in the private sector, to find capital for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
The Department of Energy has offers free public access to accepted peer-reviewed manuscripts or published scientific journal articles from projects funded by the DOE within 12 months of publication.