Michigan-based Consumers Energy has expanded its Experimental Advanced Renewables Program with the addition 13 solar projects, hosted by two businesses and nine residential customers. The program provides for the long-term purchase of renewable energy generated by solar energy systems owned by electric customers.
The EARP projects that will move forward were chosen randomly from a pool of qualified applicants, and the program is part of the ongoing implementation of Michigan’s energy reform law.
Business customer projects selected during this phase include two General Motors Company projects located in Genesee County and a project owned by Courter Farms Land, L.L.C., based in Gratiot County. The business customer-owned projects range in electric capacity from 42.5 kW to 150 kW.
The residential customer projects selected are located in the following counties: Barry, Benzie, Calhoun, Eaton, Gratiot, Ionia, Jackson, Kalamazoo and Newaygo. The customer-owned projects range in electricity capacity from 3.3 kW to 20 kW.
Consumers Energy is Michigan’s second-largest electric and natural gas utility, and it is the principal subsidiary of Jackson-based CMS Energy Corporation.
The utility also is conducting an informational session on July 11, 2013, at University of Michigan, Flint Campus to begin collecting the next round of applicants for residential projects, with final applications due August 7, 2013.
Overall, the utility said it currently has contracts in place to purchase renewable energy from 191 customer-owned solar generators as part of the utility’s renewable energy plan.
In May 2012, the Michigan Public Service Commission approved an expansion of Consumers Energy’s EARP program, putting the program limit at 3,250 kW of DC nameplate capacity, with 1,625 kW reserved for residential systems and 1,625 kW reserved for non-residential systems, according to the utility’s website.