Solar power in Michigan

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A University of Michigan solar car in Ann Arbor during the 2011 Rolling Sculpture Car Show.

Solar power in Michigan has been growing in recent years due to new technological improvements and a variety of regulatory actions and financial incentives, particularly a 30% federal tax credit, available through 2016, for any size project.

In 2002, Stanford R. Ovshinsky built a factory in Auburn Hills, Michigan to build low cost Uni-Solar panels using amorphous semiconductors that generate power in diffuse light.[1] Uni-Solar became the second largest manufacturer of thin film solar cells, after First Solar, and a developer of solar shingles before going bankrupt in 2012.[2][3] Michigan was ranked 14th among U.S. states for solar jobs in 2013.[4]

In July 2012, Michigan's largest rooftop array, 977.6 kW, was installed in Canton on the IKEA store.[5] Ford Motor Company and DTE Energy plan to build the largest solar plant in the state, a 1.04MW solar car port at Ford's world headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.[6] Construction was scheduled to begin September 2014. The city of Ann Arbor announced plans to build a 1MW solar farm at the city airport in 2015.[7] The Ikea store announced an expansion of its existing array in 2015 to bring it to 1.2MW.[8]

Government policy[edit]

The Government of Michigan has taken a variety of actions in order to encourage solar energy use within the state.

Net metering[edit]

The state has a net metering program that allows installations of up to 20 kW of on-site electrical generation to continuously roll over any excess generation to the next month. Participation is limited to 0.75% of utilities peak demand the prior year.[9] Peak demand for the state for 2011 was 21,477 MW.[10]

Renewable portfolio standard[edit]

The state adopted a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) in 2008 which requires that 10% of Michigan's electricity come from renewable resources by 2015.[11] A program to add 2 MW of solar by Consumers Energy customers was reached in two weeks, and the state directed the company to offer another 2 MW at a cost not to exceed $20 million.[12]

Installed capacity[edit]

Michigan Grid-Connected PV Capacity (MW)[13][14][15][16][17][18]
Year Capacity Change  % Change
2007 0.4
2008 0.4
2009 0.7 0.3 75%
2010 2.6 1.9 271%
2011 8.8 6.2 238%
2012 19.9 11.1 126%
2013 22.2 2.3 10%

Largest systems[edit]

Systems of 0.5 MW and larger

Name Location Size (MW) Notes[19]
Canton Ikea Canton 0.98


DTE Milford Farm Lyon Township 0.82 [21]
University of Michigan Ann Arbor 0.655 DTE Energy SolarCurents, 2 locations [2]
GM Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Hamtramck 0.5 DTE Energy SolarCurents[22]
Ford Michigan Assembly Wayne 0.5 DTE Energy SolarCurents
Liepprandt Orchard Pigeon 0.5 DTE Energy SolarCurents[23]
Monroe County Community College Monroe 0.5 DTE Energy SolarCurents
Indian Springs Metropark White Lake 0.5 DTE Energy SolarCurents
Riopelle Farms Harbor Beach 0.5 DTE Energy SolarCurents
St. Clair RESA Marysville 0.5 DTE Energy SolarCurents
Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Monroe 0.5 DTE Energy SolarCurents
Wil Le Farms Bad Axe 0.5 DTE Energy SolarCurents

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Functionality of the UNI-SOLAR® PV Cells
  2. ^ Thin Film Solar Firms
  3. ^ UNI-SOLAR Brand Debuts First Ever, UL-Approved, Standard-Production Residential Solar Module Roof Shingle
  4. ^ State Solar Jobs, the Solar Foundation
  5. ^ Mich.'s Largest Solar Array Plugged In Atop IKEA
  6. ^ Ford, DTE Energy to build Michigan's largest solar array, DTE, Aug 14, 2014
  7. ^ Ann Arbor and DTE Energy announce plans for large solar farm at city airport, mlive, December 11, 2014
  8. ^ IKEA to Increase Size of Michigan’s Largest Rooftop Solar Array by Approximately 25% Atop Detroit-Area Store in Canton, MI, Business Wire, December 03, 2014
  9. ^ "Michigan - Net Metering". Retrieved 2012-05-23. 
  10. ^ Semiannual Projections of Energy Supply and Demand Winter Outlook 2011- 2012
  11. ^ "Renewable Energy Standard". 2007-07-03. Retrieved 2012-05-23. 
  12. ^ Michigan PSC Directs Consumers Energy to Expand Solar Program
  13. ^ Sherwood, Larry (August 2012). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2011". Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). p. 16. Retrieved 2012-08-16. 
  14. ^ Sherwood, Larry (June 2011). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2010" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). p. 20. Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  15. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2010). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2009" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). p. 23. Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  16. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2009). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2008" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). p. 16. Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  17. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2012). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2012" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). p. 16. Retrieved 2013-10-11. 
  18. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2014). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2013". Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2014-09-26. 
  19. ^ U.S. Wind Energy Projects - Michigan, AWEA, 2011
  20. ^ Michigan’s Largest Solar Array Now Plugged In Atop Ikea Canton, CBS Detroit, July 10, 2012
  21. ^ DTE is busy growing solar panel field beside I-96, DetroitFree Press, March 10, 2014
  22. ^ DTE Energy SolarCurents Utility-Owned Program Aggregate Output, accessed July 11, 2012
  23. ^ [1]

External links[edit]