So How Do You Connect That Solar Panel to Consumers Energy’s System?

It’s likely people have asked you about installing a small wind turbine or solar panel at their home or business. Once you’ve outlined your zoning restrictions, the question usually comes up, “So how do I connect it to Consumers Energy’s system so I can sell some of the electricity.”

Rather than shrug your shoulders, you can give them a brief outline of our Net Metering Program – a program that lets residents and commercial customers who generate part or all of their electricity using renewable resources to receive generation credits at our full service rate.

Here’s how it works: Net metering customers connect their renewable generators to our electric distribution system. For safety and to ensure compatibility with our electric distribution system, customers must qualify to participate in our Net Metering Program.The customer needs to:

Consumers Energy will install a bi-directional meter to measure the energy a net metering customer uses and the energy the customer puts back onto the electric grid. For most customers, using less than 20 kW, the special meter will be installed at no cost to the customer. We expect that customers using less than 20 kW will make up at least 80 percent of our Net Metering Program, and these customers will pay no interconnection costs beyond the $100 interconnection/net metering application costs. (Customers using more electricity should check our website for more information about participating in Net Metering.)

Consumers Energy will continue to read the meter and send out a bill. If more electricity is produced for the electric grid than is used, Net Excess Generation credits will be carried to future bills. These credits do not expire and they may not be redeemed for cash payment. If a customer purchases electricity and natural gas from us, they will receive two bills per month; one for natural gas, the other for electricity.

Customers and their contractors or installers are responsible for coordinating the design, installation, operation and maintenance of any customer generation system and for conforming to the requirements of applicable governmental laws and regulations.

Enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis until we have reached our limit of about 70 megawatts.

More details about Net Metering and other customer generation programs are available online.