We’re always growing our renewable energy portfolio. So, if your home or business is generating electricity through solar, wind or biomass, we’re interested in your excess power. You can opt to sell all of your output or just the excess. Through our Distributed Generation program, we’ll credit you for electricity contributed to the grid.
Find Out if You're Eligible
Consumers Energy will purchase electricity from renewable energy systems defined as Qualifying Facilities under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA). This includes solar, wind, hydro, biomass and landfill gas.
Customers who wish to sell their excess electricity from a renewable energy system must complete an energy purchase agreement.
Consumers Energy or the customer may terminate the Energy Purchase Agreement upon an interval of time agreed to by the parties. The standard agreement currently provides a one-month written notice. Consumers Energy can also terminate the Energy Purchase Agreement if the customer fails to maintain its Qualifying Facility status with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Generator Interconnection Process
Customers must be approved in advance for an interconnection with the utility distribution system in order to operate in parallel with Consumers Energy.
Consumers Energy pays for all electricity delivered from renewable energy systems at the hourly, real-time Locational Marginal Price (LMP) of Consumers Energy's load node as determined by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO).
MISO manages one of the world’s largest energy markets using highly sophisticated computer programs. These programs use a mathematical representation of the generators, transmission and distribution systems owned by those entities that participate in the MISO energy market and/or who provide transmission services for participants in the MISO energy market. Generating plants and the loads of each load-serving entity (e.g. utilities like Consumers Energy that provide electricity to their customers) are represented as nodes in these computer programs. The node that represents Consumers Energy's load is designated as "CONS.CETR".
The payment amount for each month is the sum of the hourly amounts for that month determined as follows:
Hourly Payment Amount = Amount of electricity delivered by customer in megawatts (MW) x (MISO LMP for CONS.CETR)
Occasionally, the hourly LMP is a negative value. When the LMP is negative for an hour, the customer pays Consumers Energy at the contract price for each hour and the total monthly payment to the customer is reduced as a result of that time. During each billing month, generators under 2000 kW will be assessed an administrative charge of one-tenth of a cent (0.1 cent) per kilowatt-hour will be paid by the customer to Consumers Energy (which is offset against any amounts owed by Consumers Energy).
Installing an electric generating system and selling excess energy is not a simple matter. Some things you should consider are:
Type of electric generating system (e.g. wind, solar) to install
Size (or capacity in kW) of generator
Estimated amount of energy (kWh) that would be available for sale and when that energy would be available
Cost to purchase and install the generator
Operating and maintenance costs of the generator
Cost to operate and maintain a dedicated telephone line to read the meter
Cost to connect the generator to the electric grid
Financing cost of the generator
Payments you would receive under the Energy Purchase Agreement
Any tax credits, incentives or grants provided by the local, state or federal government
You must first determine the type, size and electrical characteristics of your generator before Consumers Energy can provide you with an estimate of the interconnection costs.
Once you decide on a generator type and size and provide the electrical characteristics to Consumers Energy, we recommend that you request and pay for an interconnection study.
When you receive the estimated cost of the interconnection from the Consumers Energy interconnection study, you should have the bulk of the information needed to evaluate the economics of your generator.
The interconnection agreement will specify the meter(s) needed for your project. The meter(s) will measure the amount of electricity Consumers Energy received from you. Consumers Energy will read the meters on a billing month basis and submit its payment to you based on the energy supplied, up to the maximum amount specified in the executed Energy Purchase Agreement.
Any customer whose electric generating resource meets the requirements for a Qualifying Facility as defined and determined under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) is eligible to participate.
If it is determined during the Generator Interconnection process that the current meter is not a bidirectional generation meter, a new generation meter will need to be installed in addition to, or by replacing, the current meter. In addition, a new telephone line may need to be installed to permit remote monitoring and downloading of generator output. Consumers Energy will own, install and maintain the bidirectional meter. You will be responsible for reimbursing Consumers Energy for its purchase, installation and maintenance costs associated with this bidirectional generation meter. If applicable, you will also be responsible for the ordering, installation and monthly charges associated with the new telephone line.
Meter reading for energy sales to Consumers Energy is accomplished by the installation of a dedicated phone line to a communications capable meter. Installation and monthly telephone charges will be the responsibility of the customer.
Customers must be approved in advance for an interconnection with Consumers Energy's electric distribution system in order to sell electricity from a renewable energy system to Consumers Energy. View the generator interconnection requirements to learn more.
Small generators (less than 550 kW units) that want to sell electricity to Consumers Energy may do so under Self Generation Provision, provided a signed contract with the Company is in place. Consumers Energy would pay the market price for electricity or the LMP, for any electricity delivered by the customer to the electric grid. That means an interval meter would need to be installed to measure the electricity delivered at each hourly interval.
The rate for any electricity you purchase from Consumers Energy (not self generated) will be the same as provided for under your normal applicable rate schedule for electric service. Under the Self Generation Provision, there is no netting of electricity generated vs. electricity used (see our Distributed Generation program).
If you install a renewable generator but do not select to sell service to Consumers Energy under the Self Generation Provision, you may choose to stay on your existing rate and use the electricity produced by your generator at your home or business (provided that appropriate safety devices are installed). This may reduce the amount of electricity you purchase from Consumers Energy, but you will not receive any other credit or payment for the electricity you generate, even if you generate more than you can use. When customers choose to self-generate electricity on site, Consumers Energy will install the appropriate metering device based on the options for service selected by the customer at the customer’s expense.
Other than the Renewable Energy Charge which is a per meter charge, you would pay the other surcharges just on the electricity you purchase from Consumers Energy. Surcharges applicable to your consumption can be found in the Company's Electric Rate Book, on Tariff Sheets D-2.00 through D-5.00