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More People Using Rooftop Solar to "Net Meter."

State Capitol - file photo
Melissa Benmark

More Michiganders are using rooftop solar panels to generate electricity and take advantage of a state program. It requires utilities to buy back their excess power and credit the customer.

Liesl Clark is an energy policy consultant. She says residential solar power is no longer being used mostly by “first adopters.” She says now it’s a second wave of homeowners with different concerns.”

“I don’t want to worry about, are utilities investing in coal?" Clark says. "Are utilities investing in natural gas? And are those fuel sources going to go up in cost? This is a risk-management tool.”

The numbers are still small, but a report from the Michigan Public Service Commission says the program grew by 25 percent last year.

“Every year since that has now been available, more people are using participating, and, really, in very corner of Michigan, you will find net metering customers," says Judy Palnau of the Public Service Commission.

But Palnau she says there’s still plenty of room for more customers to join before it reaches its cap. Right now, point-zero four percent of electric customers use net metering.

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