Regardless of its many advantages, we’ll be among the first to admit that solar power isn’t exactly a renter-friendly technology. Whether you live in an apartment, condo or multi-family home, the prospect of installing a solar panel array, however attractive, is for the most part dimmed by the temporality of your residence. However, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District has a program on offer for renters and others who do not currently reside in a single-family home, with an interest in going solar.
An unlikely location in the Midwest is setting up to be a locus of solar activity: Detroit, Michigan, former world auto industry capital as famed for its Model-Ts as it was for its smoke-belching factories, is also at the center of a pilot solar incentive program offered by utility company DTE Energy Co. through its subsidiary Detroit Edison. With Michigan shooting for a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) of 10 percent by 2015, however, the pressure is on for utilities to deliver—and DTE has stepped up to the plate. SolarCurrents, as the $25 million Detroit Edison program is called, provides rebates of $2.40/watt—or, $2,400 per kilowatt—of installed solar capacity, a lucrative rebate that could set off the price of a 5 kW system by a hefty $12,000. It applies to solar photovoltaic systems between 1 kW and 20 kW in installed capacity, and the program will accommodate only up to 5 MW of installations, so get your foot in the door while you can.