Detroit Today: Legislation in Lansing aims to bring back net metering

The process of net metering would allow Michigan residents to be paid for excess energy collected by solar panels.

A new bill currently in the Michigan Senate proposes to reintroduce net metering — a billing mechanism that pays residents for excess solar energy produced by their private panels.

That process was originally phased out in 2019. But some experts say it could be a way to embrace clean energy while also making the power grid more stable.

Listen: What net metering can offer solar power in Michigan.


Jeff Irwin is a State Senator of Michigan’s 15th district. He says the lack of oversight of public utilities has often allowed energy companies to prioritize profit, not affordability and the distribution of clean energy. 

“The legislature really needs to focus on what’s in the public interest here: How can we create a system that still generates a functional grid for everyone but allows Michigan residents to invest in cleaner energy when it makes sense?” says Irwin. 

Nick Schroeck is an environmental law expert, Associate Dean of Experiential Law Education and Associate Professor at Detroit Mercy School of Law. He says states with net metering enable more people to buy solar panels. 

“If you can shrink that return on investment time from 25 years down to 15 years, that starts to look a lot more attractive for people to install this technology,” says Schroeck. “And we all benefit because we’ve all got a more resilient grid and more clean and renewable power coming out of the grid.”

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