Despite only averaging between 150 and 180 sunny days per year, Michigan produces a large amount of solar energy. Due to high electricity prices and significant government support for solar conversion, Michigan homeowners are making the switch to sun-powered energy, saving money on their electric bills, reducing their carbon footprints, and even earning money from pro-solar initiatives. Learn more about the tax credits and policies that make Michigan solar panels worth looking into.

Michigan’s Solar
Report Card

Grade
Methodology

To determine a grade for each state, our researchers and solar experts analyzed data on crucial solar-advancement criteria from the following sources:

We determined a rank from 1 to 10 for each state in each category. We then combined the scores with the following weights and assigned an overall grade for each state. Our goal is to encourage those considering solar for their homes to get a basic understanding of solar potential in their areas and discover the best opportunities for clean energy available.

Incentives & Rebates, 40%

Electricity Rate, 15%

Renewable Energy Policy, 30%

Interconnection Ease, 5%

Photovoltaic Potential, 10%

How Expensive is Electricity in Michigan?

With residents paying on average $.157 cents/kWh Michigan places 13th in the nation for its cost of electricity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The majority of Michigan’s electricity is generated in nuclear, coal and natural gas power plants. High electricity rates are pushing homeowners and businesses alike to pursue solar energy solutions. Additionally, with about 200 operating solar contractors, Michigan is one of the more competitively priced states for solar panel installations.

Cost of Residential Electricity

Data from U.S. Energy Information Administration
*as of Q3 2015

Michigan
Library of Resources

Switching to Solar Panels in Michigan: Policies & Rebates

With the high price of electricity, the state is moving toward increasing its use of solar energy. Yet, it has a long way to go, ranking 33rd in the nation for installed solar capacity, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. The Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) adopted in 2008 requires the state’s electricity providers to generate 10 percent of their retail electricity sales from renewable energy resources by 2015. Currently renewable resources only contribute about 7 percent to the state’s net electricity generation, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. To encourage renewable energy usage, the state offers a variety of solar incentives and tax credits.

REBATES/INCENTIVES

MichiganSaves Loan Program

A non-profit that offers loans for energy-efficiency improvements and renovations, which includes the installation of solar photovoltaic systems. Loans are offered from $1,000 to $30,000 for residential property owners and up to $250,000 for business owners.

Renewable Energy Program Grants

Provides funding for eligible renewable energy activities, including educational and technical assistance, and activities that promote renewable energy as an alternative electricity source. Grant amounts vary according to activity.

None specifically for residential

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing Program

A statewide program that offers property owners the option to take a loan in order to pay for energy improvements.

Lean and Green Michigan PACE Program

Another PACE-funded program (representing close to half of the population of Michigan) created to provide financing options for companies and commercial property owners who want to borrow money to pay for energy efficiency renovations and energy improvements.

SmartBuildings Detroit Green Fund Loan

Offers loans between $50,000 and $150,000 for commercial, institutional and public properties to pay for the installation of energy efficient and renewable energy systems and renovations.

MATch Energy Grant

A program that provides loans, as well as cost-share or commercialization funds for universities and companies that are applying for alternative and advanced energy-related grants from federal agencies.

Energy Revolving Loan Fund

Provides funding (up to $350,000) for activities that promote the adoption of alternative and renewable energy sources.

POLICIES

Interconnection Standards

Provides guidelines for customers who intend to develop electric generation projects, so that they can be properly and legally connected to the power grid. Projects are able to be developed up to a 150 kW capacity without liability insurance.

Net Metering

a statewide program allows customers to create on-site electricity from renewable sources to meet their electricity needs, as long as the generator has a capacity of less than 150 kW.

Contractor Licensing

The state of Michigan offers a specialty license for contractors who have at least three years’ experience in the installation of solar energy systems. Licensed HVAC contractors are able to work on solar power systems without the specialty license, however.

Renewable Energy Standard (RPS)

The enacting of the Clean, Renewable and Efficiency Act in 2008 requires utility companies to generate at least 10 percent of their electricity sales from renewable energy sources by 2015, with additional obligations to DTE Electric and Consumers Energy.

None specifically for residential

None specifically for commercial

TAX CREDITS

None

None specifically for residential

Nonrefundable Business Activity Tax Credit

Offers a tax credit to companies or businesses that are certified by the Michigan Next Energy Authority and are developing, manufacturing or researching alternative energy sources. The credit amount varies according to business activity.

Refundable Payroll Tax Credit

Offers a tax credit to NextEnergy-certified companies or businesses that move to NextEnergy Zone for alternative energy research, manufacturing or development. The credit amount varies according to the number of qualified employees and the year’s income tax rate.

EXEMPTIONS

None

None specifically for residential

Renewable Energy Renaissance Zones (RERZ)

If a business is located within a RERZ, they are exempt from paying Michigan Business Tax, local income taxes, state education taxes, and real estate property taxes up to 15 years.

Michigan Solar Panel Contractors & Installers

Michigan Solar Solutions

Michigan Solar Solutions has installed thousands of solar panels since they opened. They provide Michigan residents with the knowledge and energy efficiency products they need to convert to solar power and stop paying electric companies each month.

Where it operatesCommerce, MI

Year of opening2007

Srinergy

Social responsibility is the primary focus of Srinergy. With 3, 4, and 5 kW solar kits available to residential customers, Srinergy is able to meet the energy needs of almost every home size in Michigan.

Where it operatesNovi, MI

Year of opening2010

AJ Leo Electric and Solar

AJ Leo Electric and Solar provides Michigan home and business owners with solar installations, generators, whole home rewiring, and even minor electrical changes or fixes. In addition, they also repair, maintain and reconfigure existing installed systems.

Where it operatesYpsilanti, MI

Year of opening2003

Michigan Solar Energy LLC

As one of the largest distributors of solar equipment in Michigan, MI Solar Energy is able to provide low rates in addition to their skilled and experienced contractors. Whether you’re a homeowner or business owner, MISE can either install your solar panels for you, or provide the equipment for you to do it yourself.

Where it operatesSt Clair Shores, MI

Year of opening2015

Mechanical Energy Systems

Mechanical Energy Systems brings renewable energy to homeowners, business owners, and the general public. They’ll help Michigan residents design and install a unique solar panel system, and customers can schedule maintenance and repairs at any time.

Where it operatesCanton, MI

Year of opening1985

The Green Panel, Inc.

The Green Panel, Inc. specializes in bringing Michigan residents excellent service when it comes to solar panel installation, whether it’s an on-grid system or a custom off-grid solution for remote or utility independent properties.

Where it operatesBrighton, MI

Year of opening2007

SUR Energy

Together with the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association, SUR Energy provides residential and commercial solar system installations to customers around Michigan.

Where it operatesAnn Arbor, MI

Year of opening2001

Future Energy Group

Future Energy Group helps Michiganders convert to sustainable energy methods by providing conservative lighting, controls, and solar panel systems to domestic, commercial, and industrial properties.

Where it operatesSterling Heights, MI

Year of opening2011

Sunsiaray, Inc.

Sunsiaray designs and installs PV systems for residential, commercial, and agricultural sectors and offers other solar solutions including solar thermal heating systems.

Where it operatesDavison, MI

Year of opening1983

Michigan Solar Energy Resources

Michigan Public Service Commission

The website for the Licensing and Regulatory Affairs provides information on commission orders for utility cases, consumer tips, and more. Find out more about the clean energy sector in Michigan and learn how to save money on energy.

Michigan State Legislature

View recent bill activity and learn about the current energy-related issues in Michigan. Also contact local legislators and browse through archives of laws and records pertinent to clean energy.

DSIRE Incentives Database – Michigan

Search for specific incentives, policies, programs, tax exemptions and credits, and other initiatives encouraging Michiganders to go solar, both on the federal and the state level.

U.S. Energy Information Administration – Michigan State Profile

Explore Michigan’s latest energy statistics, including prices, production methods, consumption rates, and more.