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Fact Sheet: Solar Energy Use in Michigan

Encircled by the Great Lakes and dotted with inland lakes and ponds, residents of Michigan are never far from one of its stunning bodies of water. Additionally, the state is home to creative and vibrant cities such as Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids. Michigan's industrial history and its prime position on the Great Lakes make it an excellent state for solar power, and today there are several solar incentives for interested homeowners.
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Michigan's once thriving auto industry gave the state a reputation for leaning toward fossil fuels. However, the state is currently utilizing its position as a historic manufacturing hub by drawing solar panel manufacturers into the empty facilities left behind by the auto industry. Michigan and many other states in the region are helping to transform the upper Midwest into a manufacturing center for solar energy. Read on to discover the pros and cons of solar power in the state and decide if a solar energy system is right for you.

Grid Connected Solar Power Systems in Michigan (2012)

  • Residential Solar Power Systems: 3.4 Megawatt
  • Non-Residential Solar Power Systems: 7.7 Megawatt
  • Utility: NA
  • Total: 11.1 Megawatt
  • Cumulative: 19.9 Megawatt

The number of solar power systems in Michigan is slowly growing. The state's strong interconnection law for solar power caps application and review fees at just $75 for interconnection, providing great support for homeowners hooking up to the grid.

Cost of Electricity in Michigan

  • Electricity Price: $0.14 per kWh
  • Average Electricity Bill: $140.00
  • Average Bill after Solar: $43

With an investment in solar power, homeowners can enjoy significant financial savings each month. After an average payment of $39 for leased solar systems, homeowners will save around $58 on monthly electricity bills. Solar energy systems in Michigan pay for themselves in about 7 years.

Solar Radiation

On average, Michigan receives between 2 and 3 kilowatt per day of solar radiation over an area of 1 square meter (10.76 square feet). The state enjoys approximately 175 annual days of sunshine. Despite the long, cold winters for which it's known, Michigan has plenty of sunshine to power successful solar energy systems.

State Solar Incentives and Rebate Programs

  • State Solar Tax Credit: None
  • State Solar Rebate: None
  • Property Tax Exemption: 100%
  • Sales Tax Exemption: None

Michigan still needs to establish solar incentives in the form of statewide tax exemptions and solar rebate programs. However, Michigan has a very strong net metering law that allows homeowners to carry over all surplus solar energy (Net Excess Generation NEG) at the full retail electricity rate. NEG credits are applied to the following month’s bill, and the credits can also carry over indefinitely to apply toward future charges. Additionally, the Federal Tax Credit applies.

Solar Installers in Michigan

Michigan offers a solar heating specialty contractor license to individuals who have at least three years of experience installing solar power equipment under the direction of a licensed solar contractor. Solar heating contractors are also required to pass the state examination. Solar installers for solar-electric systems are not required to have a specialty license. Research your solar installer's license here, or call (517) 241-9325.

Summary: Potential for Solar Power Systems

Michigan could benefit from developing more statewide solar incentives. However, Michigan's strong net metering law and property tax exemption are sure to result in hefty savings. The state is also steadily working to re-brand itself from a fossil fuel centered state into a more environmentally friendly one. Because of this, it is an exciting time for homeowners interested in investing in solar energy. Get started calculating your costs and savings with our Solar Calculator , or contact solar installers in your area.

Solar Energy Fact Sheet: Michigan, ©

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Written by: Oliver Behrla, Editor