In Michigan, the power companies are required, I think by the FEDERAL govt to have a certain percentage of power from 'renewable sources'.
For my power company, DTE, they are way behind on getting enough 'renewable' power into their grid. But for much of the rest of the state, Consumers'Power is doing very well reaching their required percentages.
So Consumers is not very 'friendly' toward new solar or wind powered systems, Consumers does not pay very well for grid-tied credits, sharing or payback of credits accrued. I believe the main reason is that Consumers' geographic areas in the state allow for a LOT of wind-generated power..
BUT, there is NO requirement for the towers, generators, blades etc to be made in Michigan, or even in America.
So, guess what? it's all imported, only the labor is from Michigan, and not even all of that is from Michigan.
The wind generation grids will only support a few poor paying jobs when the towers are up and working.. GRRRR
BUT in my area, DTE is way behind getting renewable power online. So they are under the gun to reach their percentages.
So the incentives and requirements are more 'friendly' .
As Freddy wrote, solar systems are near perfect for helping out a utility company.. The solar panels create the most power just when it's needed most, and this peak power IS the most expensive for a utility company.
Think of it this way: if you were able to generate 100% of your power needs 24/7/365, then the utility would not have to increase it's grid capacity for that household.
NOW lets look at a grid tie system; I makes say 2x the power needed by the house during the hot, sunny days. and therefore pushes roughly enough current back into the grid to power yet another household..
The wires are there, and have been there since the '40's, So there is no new or addtitional infrastructure for the utility.
The utility, Wins twice. The solar powered house is in essence 'off the grid' at the peak power time, and the solar panels are providing the utility yet another 'virtual house not on the grid'. That's a huge savings for the utility.
Then, as the sun sets, the house will start using power from the grid, and pays for KWH's, distribution charges and taxes.
I sometimes wonder if I should be an additional credit for not just the KWH's when I'm pushing power into the grid,, since I'm in essence providing the distribution of the power to my neighbors on the same set of wires.
This is rather abstract, and would never happen, but it is a thought.
For my electric bill, I get a 1:1 return on my credits. But there are additional incentives available if you apply for them, with the 'lottery' for the incentives, Then there is a small payback for some of the hardware purchased: for panels and inverters. it's based on the generating capacity of the array.
The only time when I see solar as being detrimental is if the utility allows so many solar systems on line, that they do not keep the grid up to capability. So what happens with a very cloudy, yet hot week? the A/C units in the homes draw a lot of current, and if the utility hasn't kept up with needed capacity, a brown out or black out will happen...
I'm certainly not aware of just how much federal and state tax revenue is used to pay for any of the incentives. but I built my array before there were any hardware payback incentives..
Just being able to use the grid as a virtual, 100% efficient 'battery'. My excess current is metered, credited, and for most of the summer, I don't have an electric bill. but this last winter, I used up all my banked credits and do still have an electric bill.
If the last 12 months are an accurate indication, i should have paid back my very large cash outlay in about 6 years. So I'm certainly not getting 'rich' or getting a check. I've just paid for 6 years of electricity in advance.. .
Food for thought..