Have you heard the big news? Michigan Democrats recently introduced two bills aimed at reducing the cost of home solar and battery storage for low-income utility customers. If successful: the bills, H.B. 4840 and H.B. 4839, will also enhance electric grid reliability and protect against power outages.

State Rep. Donavan McKinney from Detroit is sponsoring H.B. 4840 which proposes substantial rebates from utilities for customers investing in solar and battery systems. Income-qualified customers would receive even larger rebates. State Rep. Jenn Hill from Marquette is sponsoring H.B. 4839 would create a system to dispatch home batteries to the grid when needed.

The legislation aims to enable more communities, particularly low-income ones, to afford energy storage and solar systems, ensuring power reliability. The H.B. 4840 bill offers a $500-per-kilowatt rebate for solar installations, doubling to $1,000 for income-qualified customers. Battery storage would receive a $300-per-kilowatt-hour rebate, or $600 for low-income customers.

Currently, utilities are in opposition to the bills and say that the costs will be borne by all customers, creating ‘winners and losers’. However, supporters state that the legislation will lead to a clean energy future with energy equity: in theory low-income residents could save $3,000 to $8,000 on a typical solar installation. Naturally, with significant implications for homeowners, there will be a surge of interest in Michigan solar installations if the bills pass. 

The bills aim to empower individuals to take control of their energy needs, especially in areas with historic disinvestment and vulnerable populations. The proposed legislation seeks to address power reliability and affordability for all customers.

What are the Experts Saying?

Laura Sherman, president of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, has countered concerns by noting the additional savings through federal tax credits and low-cost financing in Michigan. She noted the bills can work alongside utility grid investments, potentially avoiding some distribution upgrades. “Proposed bills in the state House amount to some of the boldest state-level policies for energy storage in the entire country” she noted recently in PV Magazine. 

In addition to H.B. 4840 and H.B. 4839, there is also a H.B. 4256 which would create a state-wide target of 2,500 MW of grid-scale energy storage by 2030. It would also require utilities to meet that goal via obtaining storage systems.

Residential Solar in Michigan

New legislation will obviously boost Michigan’s residential solar market due to Michigan net metering ending in 2018 and being replaced by the Distributed Generation Program. This program functions similarly to net metering because solar users get credit for excess energy they send to the grid. But the crucial difference is that the Distributed Generation Program only does this during the day. Credits currently vary by utility and offset the power supply portion of electric bills.

Rep. McKinney’s proposed bill, HB 4840, aims to provide rebates to customers investing in solar and battery storage systems in Michigan. The rebate amounts would be set at $500 per kilowatt (kW) for new solar installations and $300 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for new battery storage systems. Notably, customers falling under the low and moderate income (LMI) category would receive double the rebates, enhancing accessibility for these communities.

In tandem with McKinney’s bill, Rep. Hill’s companion bill HB 4839 focuses on supporting a Virtual Power Plant (VPP) framework. The VPP would encompass load reduction, demand response, and voltage support mechanisms, offering potential benefits such as prolonged operation of essential medical equipment and refrigerators during extreme weather-related power outages. Additionally, behind-the-meter storage systems would have the capacity to supply surplus power back to the grid during periods of peak energy demand.

McKinney has emphasized that both bills align with the goal of creating a more equitable and environmentally conscious Michigan. He noted that his district, affected by frequent power outages from various factors like wind and ice, necessitates measures to mitigate the impact on residents’ access to electricity. The legislation seeks to offer opportunities for alternative energy adoption, particularly in low-income areas, fostering a more resilient and just energy landscape for the state.

Michigan’s Healthy Climate Plan

In the Spring of 2022, Governor Whitmer, introduced the Michigan Healthy Climate Plan, outlining a strategic vision for the state’s energy future. The primary objective of this plan is to transition Michigan towards greater reliance on renewable energy resources, targeting a goal of achieving 60% renewable energy by a specified timeframe.

Beyond renewable energy, the plan encompasses a comprehensive approach to address transportation sustainability. To this end, the proposal aims to develop a robust infrastructure capable of accommodating millions of electric vehicles by the year 2030. This move aligns with the state’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fostering eco-friendly transportation alternatives.

Central to the Michigan Healthy Climate Plan is the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS), which sets a mandate that 15% of Michigan’s total energy consumption should come from renewable sources. This RPS underscores the state’s determination to embrace cleaner energy options and contribute to broader efforts in mitigating the environmental impact of energy production and consumption.

The Michigan Healthy Climate Plan outlines a comprehensive strategy to advance Michigan’s energy landscape towards renewable sources and promote sustainable transportation solutions. The plan’s ambitious goals and commitment to renewable energy reflect Michigan’s proactive approach in addressing climate change and promoting a greener and more resilient future. This is where bills H.B. 4840 and H.B. 4839 come into play – helping Michigan achieve the renewable energy mandate!

The 30% Federal Solar Tax Credit

The Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) has long provided tax reduction incentives for homeowners embracing solar energy. On August 16, 2022, the Federal Government took significant steps to further support residential solar adoption by signing the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 into law.

One of the most impactful changes in this legislation is the expansion and extension of the Residential Clean Energy Credit, also known as the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). This effectively increases the credit applicable against your income tax burden from 26% to 30%. Additionally, the ITC, which was originally set to decrease next year, has now been extended until 2032 before gradually reducing. Importantly, the tax credit is also retroactive, meaning it applies to solar energy systems installed during the 2022 tax year.

With these updates, the ITC presents a lucrative opportunity for Michigan homeowners to go solar and significantly reduce their tax liabilities. Plus, it’s a nice way to invest in cleaner and more sustainable energy solutions. Embracing solar power can be positive for the environment but also is an economically advantageous choice for Michiganders who are looking to make a positive impact on their finances.

How to Go Solar in Michigan

When it comes to harnessing the power of the sun for your home, there’s one name you can trust: Stellar Solar. With a legacy spanning over two decades, an esteemed endorsement from basketball legend Bill Walton, and deep roots in the heart of Michigan, there’s no doubt that we are the right choice for your solar needs.

For more than 23 years, Stellar Solar has been a driving force in the solar energy industry. As one of Michigan’s oldest and most established solar companies, we have accumulated a wealth of experience and expertise in providing top-notch solar solutions for homeowners across the state. Our long-standing presence in the market is a testament to our commitment to excellence, innovation, and unwavering dedication to customer satisfaction. When you choose Stellar Solar, you are choosing a company that has stood the test of time and continues to thrive in an ever-changing industry since 1998. 

We are honored to have received an esteemed endorsement from none other than Bill Walton, a renowned basketball icon and environmental advocate. Bill’s passion for sustainability and renewable energy aligns perfectly with our own values. His endorsement speaks volumes about the quality of our services and our commitment to making a positive impact on the environment. By trusting Stellar Solar, you are aligning yourself with a company that has gained recognition and support from influential figures who champion green initiatives.

Deep Michigan Roots

At Stellar Solar, we are proud to call Michigan our home. Our roots run deep in this great state, and we are committed to serving our fellow Michiganders with the highest level of care and expertise. Our local knowledge and understanding of the unique energy needs in different regions of Michigan allow us to tailor our solar solutions specifically for you. By choosing Stellar Solar, you are supporting a local business that not only invests in your home but also reinvests in the growth and prosperity of our beloved Michigan communities.

At Stellar Solar, our priority is providing you with a seamless solar journey from start to finish. We understand that investing in solar is a significant decision, and we are here to guide you every step of the way. Our team of solar professionals will conduct a thorough analysis of your energy needs, design a customized solar system, and handle the installation process with precision and care. Moreover, we offer ongoing support and maintenance services to ensure that your solar investment continues to deliver optimal performance for years to come.

Don’t just take our word for it—our satisfied customers speak for themselves. Stellar Solar’s track record of positive customer experiences is a testament to the quality of our services and the trust we have earned. Our commitment to transparency, reliability, and unmatched customer service has garnered praise and loyalty from homeowners across Michigan.

In conclusion, when choosing Stellar Solar, you are selecting a solar partner with a rich history of service, an esteemed endorsement from Bill Walton, and deep roots in Michigan. Our mission is to empower Michigan homeowners with clean, renewable energy solutions that save money and protect the environment. 

Trust Stellar Solar for your solar needs, and together, let’s build a brighter, sustainable future for Michigan.

Call us today at 858-395-6905