Solar power in Michigan
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 for any size project. Although among the lowest U.S. states for solar irradiance, Michigan mostly lies farther south than Germany where solar power is heavily deployed. Michigan is expected to use 120 TWh per year in 2030. To reach a 100% solar electrical grid would require 2.4% of Michigan's land area to host 108 GW of installed capacity.
According to the Michigan Public Service Commission, the state had an estimated 27 MW of solar capacity as of the end of 2014.
In July 2012, Michigan's largest rooftop array, 977.6 kW, was installed in Canton on the IKEA store. Ford Motor Company and DTE Energy built the largest solar plant in the state, a 1.04 MW solar car port at Ford's world headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan in 2015. In 2015, DTE built a 1.1 MW solar farm at Domino's Farms near Ann Arbor, slightly larger than the Ford carport. The IKEA store announced an expansion of its existing array in 2015 to bring it to 1.2 MW. A 1.95 MW solar farm at DTE's Greenwood Energy Center near St. Clair came online in January 2016. Indiana Michigan Power, in November 2016, opened a 4.6 MW solar farm near Watervliet.
In late 2015, DTE began construction on two solar farms in Lapeer County: a 30 MW farm and a 15 MW solar farm with completion expected in 2016. These would be the first large utility-scale solar farms in the state, with the larger covering 200 acres of land and the smaller one covering 100 acres. In March 2016, DTE got approval for a 2MW solar farm to be built in a closed park in Detroit.
Fort Custer began construction in May 2015 of a 0.25 MW solar farm with plans for a second 0.3 MW farm later. This is part of the U.S. military's renewable energy goals of 25% renewables by 2025. In 2017, a project was announced for Fort Custer that would be a microgrid consisting of a 1.375 MW diesel system, 0.720 MW solar PV array, and a 0.400 MW energy storage system. Camp Grayling has a small 0.02 MW installation on one building roof while Selfridge Air National Guard Base had no solar power by 2014.
The Lansing Board of Water and Light is planning a 20 MW project that would almost double the amount of solar power in the state. In September 2015, Michigan State University approved solar car ports that would cover 5 parking lots and have a total of 15 MW(DC) of power, expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
In 2015, several community solar projects were proposed. Consumers Power built a 3 MW solar farm at Grand Valley State University, completed April 2016, which became the largest solar farm in Michigan. Consumers Power also built a 1 MW community solar project at Western Michigan University, completed in August 2016. Spartan Solar, a 1.2 MW installation in Cadillac, was built by Wolverine Power Cooperative in fall 2016, the largest solar plant in Northern Michigan. Two 0.3 MW community solar farms are proposed by Lansing BWL, one in East Lansing and one in Lansing. DTE Energy has issued proposals for community solar farms that could reach 50 MW.
Distributed solar is not widely used in Michigan with 2,289 installations totally 17,000 kW, providing 0.02% of the state's electricity, as of 2015.
Michigan was ranked 14th among U.S. states for solar jobs in 2013.
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. 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.
The Government of Michigan has taken a variety of actions in order to encourage solar energy use within the state.
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. Peak demand for the state for 2011 was 21,477 MW.
Renewable portfolio standard
The state adopted a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) in 2008 which required that 10% of Michigan's electricity come from renewable resources by 2015. This standard was met mostly by wind power. A program to add 2 MW of distributed 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.
In December 2016, a new energy policy was adopted which calls for 12.5% renewable power by 2019 and 15% by 2021. It further calls for power suppliers to "obtain at least 35% of the State’s electric needs through energy waste reduction and renewable energy by 2025."
Systems of 0.5 MW and larger
|Watervliet||Watervliet||4.6||Indiana Michigan Power|
|Solar Garden 1||Grand Valley State University||3.00||Consumers Energy, community solar|
|Greenwood Energy Center||Avoca||1.95||DTE Energy|
|Spartan Solar||Cadillac||1.20||Wolverine Power, community solar|
|Domino's Farms||Ann Arbor||1.08||DTE Energy SolarCurrents|
|Ford World Headquarters||Dearborn||1.04||DTE Energy SolarCurrents|
|Western Michigan University||Kalamazoo||1.0||Consumer Energy Solar Gardens program|
|GM Warren Transmission||Warren||0.9||DTE Energy SolarCurrents|
|McPhail||Wixom||0.82||DTE Energy SolarCurrents|
|Romulus Solar||Romulus||0.75||DTE Energy SolarCurrents|
|University of Michigan||Ann Arbor||0.67||DTE Energy SolarCurrents, 2 locations|
|Thumb Solar||Caro||0.66||DTE Energy SolarCurrents|
|GM Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly||Hamtramck||0.5||DTE Energy SolarCurrents|
|Ford Michigan Assembly||Wayne||0.5||DTE Energy SolarCurrents|
|Hartland Schools||Hartland||0.5||DTE Energy SolarCurrents|
|Liepprandt Orchard||Pigeon||0.5||DTE Energy SolarCurrents|
|Monroe County Community College||Monroe||0.5||DTE Energy SolarCurrents|
|Indian Springs Metropark||White Lake||0.5||DTE Energy SolarCurrents|
|Riopelle Farms||Harbor Beach||0.5||DTE Energy SolarCurrents|
|St. Clair RESA||Marysville||0.5||DTE Energy SolarCurrents|
|Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary||Monroe||0.5||DTE Energy SolarCurrents|
|Brownstown Solar||Taylor||0.5||DTE Energy SolarCurrents|
|Wil Le Farms||Bad Axe||0.5||DTE Energy SolarCurrents|
- List of power stations in Michigan
- Solar power in the United States
- Renewable energy in the United States
- Wind power in Michigan
- Michigan Renewable Resource Assessment, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation for Michigan Public Service Commission, April 2015
- Net Metering & Solar Program Report For Calendar Year 2014, Michigan Public Service Commission, August 2015 pg. 13
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- More than 700 solar panels installed at Fort Custer Training Center, mlive, May 15, 2015
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- Consumers Energy Starts Operating First Community Solar Power Plant at Grand Valley State University, Consumers Energy, April 18, 2016
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