A Michigan Senate Bill on solar is creating controversy within the state and could also set a dangerous precedent by threatening the benefits of energy savings through residential solar.
Michigan Senate Bill 438 is being discussed on today and could dramatically alter the amount of solar energy savings for residential homeowners. The Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council published a call to action against this bill on its website, beginning with the statement:
Michigan Senate Bill 438 would roll back Michigan’s successful energy laws that have spurred more than $3 billion in investment since 2008, helped Michiganders save on their utility bills, and provided consumers with more control over how to power their lives. SB 438 would make energy in Michigan more expensive and stop our progress toward energy independence.
The bill, if passed, will allow utility companies to collect energy produced by residential solar panels and then sell it back to homeowners.
David Strenski, founder of Solar Ypsi, told WEMU 89.1, a community NPR station, “What they [Michigan lawmakers] want to do today is drastically different than what they [wanted to do] in 2005.”
“Instead of me making power on my roof and just using it in my house, what they want to do now is have me generate electricity on my roof and send it directly to the utility companies.”
Bill 438 could set a dangerous precedent if passed. By eliminating energy savings, you are eliminating the major appeal for residential homeowners implementing solar panels. This could significantly cut into the demand for solar panels, because without energy savings, what benefit is there to the homeowner?
For builders offering solar panels in residential projects, a bill such as this could crush their bottom line.