- Michigan investor-owned utility DTE Energy will be the off-taker for a 30 MW photovoltaic (PV) solar array and a 15 MW PV array built by developer Inovateus Solar, PV Magazine reports.
- The two Inovateus installations and DTE’s five other small PV projects in development —including a 1.9 MW array, two 800 kW arrays, a 750 kW array, and a 500 kW array — will triple the 25 MW solar installed capacity Michigan can claim.
- A power purchase agreement (PPA) between the utility and the developer for installations totaling 50 MW was approved earlier in December by Michigan Public Service Commission. DTE and Inovateus are evaluating sites for the last 5 MW covered by the PPA.
U.S. utility-scale PV deployment has been largely regional, with 64% of large-scale installed capacity in California and the desert Southwest. Midwestern states like Michigan have comparatively small solar deployments, but DTE's recent PPAs suggest that may be changing as the installed price of solar drops and utilities and their regulators become more comfortable with the resource.
DTE is Michigan’s biggest investor in renewables, with an over-$2 billion buy-in since 2008, according to a press release from the company.
With this 50 MW addition of solar capacity in addition to its wind energy and biomass resources, DTE’s energy mix now includes 1 GW of renewables that exceeds the requirement of Michigan’s 10% renewables by 2015 mandate, according to the utility.
Driven by the newly-extended 30% federal investment tax credit, new solar markets are expected to open. In addition to the activity in Michigan, Duke Energy announced utility-scale arrays for both Carolinas, and AEP recently agreed to a 400 MW PV deployment in Ohio. GTM Research estimates that the tax credit extension will result in a 54% boost in solar builds compared to if the credits were allowed to revert back to 10% at the end of 2016.