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Protesters rally against changes to solar power laws

Aug 19, 2015

A group of protesters gathered at the state Capitol on Wednesday to oppose the legislation. They carried umbrellas adorned with the words, ‘Don’t block the sun.'
Credit Jake Neher / MPRN

A bill that would make major changes to Michigan’s solar power laws is getting some pushback.

The legislation deals with a process called net metering. Right now, that allows people with rooftop solar panels to use the power they generate and sell the rest to their utility. Senate Bill 438 would change that.

“Instead of being able to use that power you generate on your roof to lower your energy bill first, you are now forced to sell every single electron from that solar to the utility,” said Amy Heart with the Alliance for Solar Choice.

Heart says solar panel owners would have to sell their energy to utilities at a wholesale price and then buy electricity back at a retail price.

She joined a group of protesters outside the state Capitol on Wednesday rallying against the bill. The group then moved to a state Senate committee, which heard extensive testimony on the legislation Wednesday morning.

Utilities say the legislation would help make sure each customer is paying their fair share of the costs to support the electrical system.