Lifting cap on small-scale solar creates jobs, saves residents money

Environmental groups endorsed a bill last Wednesday that would eliminate the cap on how many residents and businesses can use small-scale solar energy to power their homes and companies, saying current law restricts job growth and investment and access to affordable energy. 

The Michigan League of Conservation Voters and Michigan Environmental Council testified in support of Rep. Markkenen's House Bill 4236 during the House Energy Committee Wednesday. The Republican from Hancock has the bipartisan support of 12 cosponsors. 

“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has effected all sectors, including clean energy,” said Charlotte Jameson, program director for legislative affairs, energy and drinking water at MEC. “By reducing Michigan’s reliance on fossil fuels and moving to clean energy, we can create good-paying jobs, ensure people have access to affordable energy, and have less mercury and other toxins in our water, air and land. For all these reasons, it’s important for lawmakers to eliminate the cap on distributed generation.”  

According to research from Harvard University, COVID-19 exacerbates pre-existing conditions like asthma, leading to irreparable damage or death. Approximately 10% of Michigan adults have asthma – higher than the national average.  

“Rooftop solar installations create jobs and are successful at providing clean energy that powers homes and businesses across the state,” said Nick Occhipinti, government affairs director for MLCV. “By lifting the cap on distributed generation, Michigan’s clean energy sector can grow jobs, reduce harmful pollution that puts people’s lives at risk and protect our Great Lakes.” 

Both MLCV and MEC are supporting the 13 bill cosponsors through education and advocacy initiatives within and beyond the Capitol.

By Beau Brockett Jr.