WE DTE knows that DTE Energy customers are interested in power generation via alternative means (for more information on our collective renewable energy efforts, visit our Renewable Energy Overview Webpage). That’s why many of you will be interested to know that the SolarCurrents program will again open for applications in January 2013, adding an additional 2 megawatts (MW) of capacity. It’s true!

The program offers financial incentives to DTE electric customers who want to install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, which use solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity, at their homes or businesses. These incentives led to the installation of nearly 600 solar PV projects under the original 5 MW pilot program conducted in 2009-2010.

WE DTE asked one of our SolarCurrents gurus some questions to get the scoop on the modified program.

WE DTE: What’s changing in 2013?

SolarCurrents guru: The biggest change is that there will be four application periods over two years. Every six months, beginning in January 2013, qualified applicants will have the opportunity to participate in a random selection event to ensure everyone gets a fair shake. In addition, customers who installed solar PV systems without the original program incentives can now apply with the chance to receive the same financial incentives as customers who intend to install new PV projects.

WE DTE: How do the costs stack up against the old program?

SolarCurrents guru: They are less! Solar PV technology and better manufacturing processes have reduced solar installation costs nearly 30 percent since our program kicked off in 2009. The new payment amounts have been reduced to reflect the lower cost. In addition, other incentives, like federal tax credits and net metering credits, are available.

WE DTE: When can customers apply?

SolarCurrents guru: The SolarCurrents application will be available on our website Jan. 7. To learn more about the program, customers are invited to attend a program seminar on Dec. 5, 2012 in Dearborn. You can register online and learn more about the program at dteenergy.com/solar.

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