Consumers Energy - Experimental Advanced Renewable Program

May 01, 2015


Note: Check the program web site for application materials and information on future solicitations. Consumers Energy is not currently accepting applications for Residential and Non-Residential EARP Solar customers. Future phases are planned into 2015 as needed to meet program capacity targets. Consumers Energy is not currently accepting applications to the Anaerobic Digestion program.

The Experimental Advanced Renewable Energy Program (EARP) offers Consumers Energy residential and non-residential customers a buy-back tariff program for electricity produced by solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and anaeorobic digestion. The pilot version of the program began in 2009 and closed in December 2010, but an expanded version of the program has extended into 2015. Owners of residential systems from 1-20 kilowatt (kW) and non-residential systems from 1-150 kW are eligible to participate in the program. Residential customers must receive electric service on tariff rate RS or RT in order to be eligible for the program. Non-residential customers on tariff rates RS, RT, GS, GSD, GP, and GPD are eligible for the program. The expanded program is capped at 3,000 kW of capacity, with 1,500 kW for residential systems and 1,500 kW for non-residential systems. Contracts will be awarded in phases, with 125 kW available each quarter for residential customers, and 250 kW available for non-residential customers every six months.

It is important to note that this is not a net metering program and program participants are not eligible for net metering. Under the program, Consumers Energy will purchase all of the electricity produced by the system through a fixed-rate contract of up to 15 years. Contracts will be 15 years in length, but may not have a termination date of later than August 31, 2029. Electricity production is metered separately from the customer's existing electricity source (i.e., the grid). Participants are assessed a monthly System Access Charge equivalent to the existing distribution account used to qualify for the program to cover metering costs.* Systems with battery back-up or any other type of energy storage capability are not eligible to participate in this program. In order to be eligible for the program, solar equipment must be manufactured in Michigan or constructed by a Michigan workforce (detailed requirements are available on the program web site). The solicitation phases and purchase rates are as follows:

Phase Year Quarter Sector Solicitation Open Due Date Firm-Offer Price ($/kWh)
3 2011 4 Non-Residential 08/26/2011 09/28/2011 $0.229
4 2012 1 Residential 12/01/2011 01/12/2012 $0.259
5 2012 2 Non-Residential 02/27/2012 03/29/2012 $0.229
6 2012 2 Residential 04/03/2012 05/03/2012 $0.259
7 2012 3 Residential 06/04/2012 07/05/2012 $0.249
8 2012 4 Non-Residential 08/29/2012 10/10/2012 $0.219
9 2012 4 Residential 08/29/2012 10/10/2012 $0.249
10 2013 1 Residential 01/02/2013 02/06/2013 $0.249
11 2013 2 Non-Residential 04/01/2013 05/08/2013 $0.209
12 2013 2 Residential 04/01/2013 05/08/2013


13 2013 3 Residential 07/01/2013 08/07/2013 $0.243
14 2013 4 Non-Residential 10/01/2013 11/06/2013 $0.199
15 2013 4 Residential 10/01/2013 11/06/2013 $0.243 
16 2014 1 Residential   02/05/2014 $0.243 
17 2014 2 Non-Residential    05/07/2014 $0.199
18 2014 2 Residential   05/07/2014 $0.243 
19 2014 3 Residential   08/06/2014 $0.243 

Solar systems that receive the residential tariff rate may not be located on property that is used for commercial, governmental, or non-profit purposes. Consumers Energy will only credit the Electric Account Holder;  a third party cannot receive credit for the production of an EARP system. However, long term leases of the generating equipment are permitted. Consumers Energy will credit the Electric Account Holder. The applicant must be a Consumers Energy customer on one of the qualifying electricity rates and must own the generating system. If the generation system is located on property that is not owned by the applicant, the applicant must have a lease or other instrument that permits them to construct, own, and operate the system throughout the term of the contract. Systems installed on newly constructed buildings are eligible for this program as long as the applicant will receive electric service from the utility at that site, or an adjacent site.

* The System Access Charge for the EARP is set at $6 per month for tariff rates RS and RT; $15 per month for tariff rate GS; $25 per month for tariff rates GSD and GP; and may not exceed $50 per month for other eligible customers (i.e., tariff rate GPD).

Anaerobic Digestion

Participants who have been selected for this program will be notified.

Participants will have two years from their notice to construct their system and begin generating electricity to achieve their Commercial Operation Date (COD). Once a system has reached COD, the customer can begin receiving compensation for their generation

Participants will have two rate options from which to choose when applying to the program. The first option is a levelized rate that will pay $86.00/MWh for the full twenty year term of the Agreement. The second option is a rate payment schedule that will allow participants to specify the term of their Agreement to be between ten and twenty years. View the Program website
 for more information.



Program Overview

Implementing Sector: Utility
Category: Financial Incentive
State: Michigan
Incentive Type: Performance-Based Incentive
Web Site:
Administrator: Consumers Energy
Start Date: 08/27/2009
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
  • Solar Photovoltaics
Incentive Amount: Non-Residential, August - September 2011: $0.229/kWh
Residential, December 2011: $0.259/kWh
Non-Residential, February - March 2012: $0.229/kWh
Residential, April - May 2012: $0.259/kWh
Residential, June - July 2012: $0.249/kWh
Non-Residential, August - October 2012: $0.219/kWh
Residential, August - October 2012: $0.249/kWh
Residential, January - February 2013: $0.249/kWh
Non-Residential, April - May 2013: $0.209/kWh
Residential, April - May 2013: $0.209/kWh
Residential, July - August 2013: $0.243/kWh
Non-Residential, October - November 2013: $0.199/kWh
Residential, October - November 2013: TBD
Subsequent Phases: $0.200-$0.259/kWh
Terms: Fixed rate contract for up to 15 years; participants pay system access charge ($6 - $50 per month) to cover additional metering costs.
Eligible System Size: Residential: 1 kW - 20 kW DC
Non-residential: 1 kW - 150 kW DC
Capacity may not exceed the size necessary to produce the amount of energy consumed on site
Installation Requirements: Must sign Generator Interconnection and Operating Agreement
Ownership of Renewable Energy Credits: Utility owns RECs


This program has 2 incentives
Technologies: Solar Photovoltaics, Renewable Energy
Sectors: Commercial, Industrial
Parameters: The system has a minimum of 150.00 kW, The incentive is 0.00 $/kWh
Technologies: Solar Photovoltaics, Renewable Energy
Sectors: Local Government, Nonprofit, Residential, Schools, State Government, Federal Government, Multifamily Residential, Institutional
Parameters: The system has a minimum of 20.00 kW, The incentive is 0.00 $/kW


Name: Program Coordinator - EARP
Organization: Consumers Energy
Address: 1945 W. Parnall Rd., Rm. P13-304
Jackson MI 49201
Phone: (517) 788-8900

This information is sourced from DSIRE; the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.