What is the Low-Income Solar Pilot?
DTE Energy is committed to doing its part to address climate change and is working with stakeholders to help decarbonize our state’s economy. With a goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, DTE is focused on bringing significantly more clean energy onto the grid, investing in universal scale wind and solar projects that are creating a cleaner Michigan for all Michiganders. We also offer several options for customers who want to play a more direct role in the state’s clean energy transformation. This includes offering enrollment in one of our popular voluntary renewable energy programs, assisting customers who want to install private generation systems to connect safely to the grid, and exploring pilot programs with communities and municipalities who want to work with us on a more customized solution.
As a result of conversations with community stakeholder groups, we have now embarked on an ambitious pilot to bring community solar projects to three underserved communities in our service territory: Detroit, Highland Park and River Rouge. The goal of the pilot is to help low-income customers and communities participate in the benefits of renewable energy. If sufficient funds are raised, DTE will develop and operate three solar arrays, constructed in each of these communities. Selected low-income residents for each of the projects will be subscribed to 100% renewable energy for their place of living and will also receive an associated bill credit, which will lower their monthly bill. To further enable bill savings, two of the projects will include energy efficiency initiatives for selected participants.
A Low-Income Solar Council will be established and will include one representative from DTE, a non-profit organization, a subject matter expert (SME), the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) staff and one low-income resident from each community. The council will be responsible for interfacing with the three pilot cities, raising the funds for the projects, soliciting proposed project locations and formats, setting criteria, and reviewing and ranking projects. DTE will partner with the Low-Income Solar Council to identify funds and will approve the projects recommended by the council.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How will the Low-Income Solar Pilot be funded?
A: DTE will provide 30% of the funding for the pilot, up to $300,000 for each solar project. These funds will be allocated to engineering, procurement and construction. The remaining funding will come from third party contributions.
Q: Where will the solar arrays be located?
A: The solar arrays will be located in Detroit, River Rouge and Highland Park. Specific locations for the projects have not yet been determined.
Q: When will the solar projects be operational?
A: The three projects are expected to be operational in 2022, 2023, and 2024, respectively.
Q: How will customers be selected?
A: DTE and the Low-Income Solar Council will work together to determine the methodology for selecting individuals to participate in the pilot.
Q: How many customers will participate in the pilot?
A: The appropriate methodology to determine how many low-income individuals may participate in each project will be decided by DTE and the Low-Income Solar Council. The number of individuals that can participate from each community is dependent on the size of the community solar array.
Q: How much will selected pilot participants receive in bill credits?
A: Bill credits for the selected residents will be based on DTE’s approved voluntary green pricing tariff and are estimated to be between $25-30 each month.
Q: Will council members be paid?
A: All low-income representatives will be compensated for their time. The remaining council members will not be compensated through the pilot funding.
Q: How often will the council meet?
A: The Low-Income Solar Council will meet at least once a month and may meet as often as the members decide is needed. Meeting minutes will be posted publicly on this site.
Q: How long will the pilot last?
A: During 2023 and 2024, DTE Electric will analyze the data and will file a case with the MPSC no later than the first quarter of 2025 in which DTE Electric will propose either termination of the pilot, commencement of a low-income solar program or continuation of the pilot on different terms.
Meet the Members of the Low-Income Solar Council
Solar Council Members
DTE Representative: Michael Rivet
MPSC Representative: Julie Baldwin
Non-Profit Representative: Will Kenworthy, Vote Solar
Lindsay Wold, DTE Energy
Cody Matthews, MPSC Staff
Low-Income Solar Council Meeting Minutes
Review the latest meeting minutes from the Low-Income Solar Council below.
Contribute to the Low-Income Solar Pilot
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Check back to see some of the amazing people who have partnered with us on this project.