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net metering

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Republican Senator John Proos of St. Joseph is proposing legislation that would require individuals with solar panels to sell their energy back to the utility companies at a wholesale rate and buy it back at a retail rate. This is also known as net metering.

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There’s heated debate over the future of renewable energy policy in Michigan – and it’s not just Democrats versus Republicans.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is criticizing legislation that would put new limits on Michigan’s net metering program. That program allows people with solar panels to sell surplus energy back to the grid.

Craig and Sharon Goble invested $30,000 in their solar array. They say the proposed changes to Michigan's solar program would make their investment less valuable.
David Cassleman / Interlochen Public Radio

More and more people are putting up solar panels in Michigan. It's getting a lot more affordable to do it. And there's a payback when you get your monthly utility bill.

But a bill in the state Senate could fundamentally change the solar program in Michigan, and it has some people worried. 

How "net metering" works in Michigan

Craig and Sharon Goble’s electricity bill looks different than most people’s.  

Michael Mazengarb / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The solar power industry is not happy with Republican state lawmakers’ new energy plan.

The bills introduced last month would get rid of the state’s renewable energy standard.

They would also make significant changes to net metering. That allows customers in Michigan to use solar panels or wind turbines on their property to lower their energy bills.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report says the number of people generating their own electricity in Michigan and sharing it with others is growing.

This week, the Michigan Public Service Commission released its annual "net metering" report. There’s been an 18% increase in electricity being added to Michigan’s power grid by homeowners, non-profits, and small businesses using their own solar and wind-power generators.