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Big rebates proposed for rooftop solar and home battery storage under new legislation

Courtesy of Kate Madigan
Workers installing solar panels

Updated: 6/28/23

Michigan residents could get rebates worth thousands of dollars for installing rooftop solar and battery storage systems, under bills introduced in the state House today.

The legislation offers utility customers a rebate of $500 per KW for solar installations and $300 per KWh for battery storage systems. That means a 7 KW rooftop solar system would be eligible for $3,500 in rebates, for example.

The rebates would be doubled for low-income customers.

The bills also direct the Michigan Public Service System to evaluate and direct utilities to adopt technology that allows energy sharing from home batteries.

The money from the rebates would come from an extra charge on everyone's utility bill.

Laura Sherman is head of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council. She said all customers would still benefit, even if it's their neighbors who install the technologies and gets the rebates.

For example, if the grid is stressed and needs an additional low-cost source of energy on a hot summer day, or there's an outage in your neighborhood, "the utility can send a signal to all the people who have these battery systems, and it can either be a day ahead, or a few hours ahead, and they'll say if you have extra power in your battery, we are going to need it on the grid," Sherman said.

Consumers Energy spokesman Brian Wheeler said the bills have just been introduced, so the utility has not had a chance to fully review them. "However, on their face, they would create significant rate impacts to customers who don’t have the means to install rooftop solar. "

Editor's Note: Consumers Energy is one of Michigan Radio's corporate sponsors.

Correction: This article was modified to provide a more typical example of an average rooftop solar installation, and to change KW to KWh to describe the measure used for battery storage systems.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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