LANSING – A proposed settlement between Consumers Energy and independent power producers could lead to hundreds of megawatts of solar power being built within the next four years.

On Thursday, the utility filed the proposed settlement with the Michigan Public Service Commission hoping to resolve a more than year-long dispute with solar developers looking to sell power to Consumers.

Multiple developers have challenged the amount Consumers is required to pay them under the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act, or PURPA. Under the 1978 policy, utilities are required to purchase power from independent producers at the “avoided cost,” reflecting the amount it would cost the utility to build itself. Critics have claimed Consumers Energy proposed avoided costs rates that made their projects uneconomic to build.

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