The number of customers selling electricity back to the grid in Michigan climbed again in 2016, according to an annual report released by the state last month. The state’s net-metering program, which lets ratepayers sell surplus power back to the grid at retail prices, added 427 customers and nearly 5 megawatts of capacity, most of it from solar. While the state’s total solar capacity doubled last year through utility-scale projects, net-metering momentum is at risk after 2018, as the state prepares to replace net metering with a tariff aimed at better reflecting the value of solar and other forms of distributed generation. The Michigan Public Service Commission spent much of 2017 designing a replacement for the state’s decade-old net metering program, a requirement under the state’s sweeping 2016 energy law. The net-metering debate has revolved around whether customers’ use of solar panels is being subsidized by other ratepayers, or if the systems provide a net benefit to the electric grid.
A battle is brewing in the Michigan Public Service Commission over the rate DTE Energy will charge municipalities to operate LED streetlights. At least one municipal official is calling for cities to take over their streetlights altogether.