Michigan residents who are customers of DTE Energy have in recent years enjoyedone of the best solar power rebate programs in the country… until now.
The Michigan utility today announced that its popular SolarCurrents rebate program has become fully subscribed.
“The SolarCurrents program demonstrated that financialincentives can spur significant growth and interest in an emergingrenewable technology,” said Trevor Lauer, DTE Energy vice president,Marketing & Renewables. “We are proud of the role this program hasplayed in helping Michigan’s solar industry transition to become aviable and growing industry within our state.”
DTE Energy customers can still install solar energy systems – andwork with the utility to connect them to their electric system. But DTEEnergy will no longer provide financial incentives that were part of the initial pilot program.
Well isn’t that convenient?
Until the program stopped accepting applications on Thursday, buyersof residential solar energy systems had been eligible to receive arebate of $2.40 per watt of installed solar photovoltaic (PV) power. Anowner of a new 7,000-watt (7-kilowatt) system, for instance, would havereceived $16,800 in incentives. While a federal tax credit worth 30percent of system costs is available to all Americans, regardless oftheir state of residence, local incentives have been needed to spurmeaningful demand for solar PV systems.
DTE Energy has a stated goal of adding about 1,200 megawatts (MW) ofrenewable energy — mostly wind — to its energy portfolio by 2015.Fifteen MWs are to come from DTE-owned solar energy systems, while fiveMWs are to come from customer-owned systems.
The closing of the SolarCurrents program will undoubtedly have achilling effect on the local solar energy market. As we’ve seen in other states in recent years, incentive programs that are poorly structuredor are limited by funding and/or time horizon can make for a painfulboom-bust cycle. They can also frustrate homeowners who learn aboutcancelled rebate programs just as they’re beginning to get interested in solar.
Bottom line: solar rebates almost always go fast. So if there’s a local rebate or other incentive available in your area, be sure to get a free solar home quote and submit your application ASAP!
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