The Michigan House Energy Committee will conduct a hearing today on House Bill 5861, which will bring community solar for residents, nonprofit organizations and other constituents looking to lower utility bills and access clean energy options. The Community Renewable Energy Gardens bill is among five separate bills in the bipartisan Energy Freedom Package, which taken together would significantly advance Michigan’s clean energy economy.
“The vast majority of Michiganders support expanding the state’s commitment to clean energy resources like solar, recognizing that more clean energy means lower utility bills, greater energy independence, and a healthier environment for our kids and communities. We applaud leaders in Lansing on both sides of the aisle who embrace the importance of clean energy progress,” said Becky Stanfield, Vote Solar’s senior director of western states. “Community solar will finally give Michigan residents the freedom to choose to get their energy from a reliable, affordable and local solar project, and we’re thrilled to support Chairman Glenn’s measure to bring that energy freedom to the state.”
The bipartisan Energy Freedom package, House Bills 5861-5865, is sponsored by Rep. Gary Glenn (R-Williams Township), Rep. Yousef Rabhi, (D-Ann Arbor), Rep. Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte), Rep. Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) and Rep. Steve Johnson (R-Wayland), and in addition to establishing a statewide community solar program, would also help to break down the barriers to solar development and give customers more options:
- Remove the cap on number of households that can participate in the distributed generation program. Current law allows only 0.5% of a utility’s customers to earn credit for the excess electricity they share with the grid.
- Ensure that rooftop solar owners get a fair price for the excess energy they share with the grid. The Fair Value bills ensure that solar customers are paid for the full range of quantifiable benefits they are providing to the power grid.
- Study and deploy microgrids to improve reliability and resilience for critical facilities like hospitals and police stations during emergencies such as extreme weather events. These microgrids can separate or “island” off of the main utility grid to continue providing service when during times of widespread outages.
News item from Vote Solar