$250M Solar Project in Approved in Shiawassee County; Solar Tax Bills Introduced

Shiawassee County Planning Commission Approves $250 Million Solar Farm

Earlier this week, the Shiawassee County Planning Commission unanimously approved Michigan EIBC member company Ranger Powers Special Use Permit request for the Assembly Solar Project, a proposed $250 million solar farm in Hazelton and Venice Townships that will create hundreds of jobs. This is the final step in the zoning approval process, and construction is expected to begin late this year.

“We appreciate the support from local community members, businesses, neighbors and residents as we sought approval for the Assembly Solar Project,” said Sergio Trevino, director of permitting at Ranger Power. “The strong partnership we have forged will ensure this project is a win for the entire community, creating more jobs and revenue for schools and public safety.”

Ranger Power took a community-first approach throughout the permit approval process, working closely with landowners and local residents and meeting with stakeholders to hear their thoughts and answer questions.

According to Ranger Power’s press release, the Assembly Solar Project will have a significant benefits for the local community. The project will generate a $3.2 million increase in household earnings through the creation of more than 300 jobs during construction, with approximately $16 million in construction dollars being spent in Shiawassee County.

“This project will pump economic benefits and tax income into Shiawassee County, benefiting schools, small businesses like restaurants and hardware stores, libraries, and fire and police services, as well as roads and bridges,” said Sean Harris, development manager at Ranger Power.

Solar Tax Bills Introduced in Michigan House & Senate

Last week, legislation to clarify taxation of solar panels was introduced in the Michigan House (HB 4068 and HB 4069by Representative Bronna Kahle and in the Michigan Senate (SB 47 and SB 48by Senator Tom Barrett.

The bills are necessary to avoid the current patchwork system of interpretation and enforcement around taxation of distributed energy systems and would place Michigan on the same level as other states where DERs are exempt from property taxes and ensure that these systems remain economically viable. Taxes on residential solar panels are currently assessed inconsistently across the state. In addition, it’s unclear why other “energy” upgrades (like generators) are not taxed, but these distributed generation resources are taxed in some jurisdictions. A contradictory set of policies from the Michigan Tax Tribunal and Michigan Agency for Energy has further complicated and confused the situation.

In 2018, two bills to clarify the taxation of solar panels sponsored by Representative Tom Barrett passed the House and Senate with resounding support. HB 5143 and HB 5680which were tie-barred, both passed the House of Representatives on June 12, 2018 with a vote of 106 to 3. The bills were later revised on August 21, 2018. The two bills passed the Senate on December 19, 2018 with a vote of 38 to 0. The bills were vetoed on December 31, 2018 by Governor Snyder.

The bills introduced by Rep. Kahle and Senator Barrett last week have the same intent and language as HB 5143 and HB 5680. Michigan EIBC, its member companies, and a broad coalition of stakeholders supported HB 5143 and HB 5680 and see the passage of similar legislation as a key priority in 2019.


Michigan Energy Stories

  • A solar carport project at Michigan State University is working as plannedafter its first year of operation.
  • According to Crain’s, Michigan’s two largest utilities are in a race to end coal use by 2040 despite the Trump administration’s effort to bolster the industry.
  • Michigan regulators sought input on new statewide interconnection rules, which they hope will reduce an unprecedented backlog of solar projects waiting to be built.
  • Local officials in eastern Michigan approved plans for a 239 MW solar project, the largest proposed project in the state.
  • Officials with Ceres and the University of Michigan penned an article on how Michigan’s new governor and lawmakers should take steps to boost the state’s electric vehicle market.
  • Consumers Energy completed a $5 million rooftop solar-plus-storage projectin Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • A community solar project came online at a former landfill in East Lansing, Michigan.
  • Michigan EIBC member company Foresight Management acquired the Building Performance Team, an engineering firm specializing in commissioning, energy modeling and optimizing facility performance.
  • A measure to establish a fixed and slower timetable for decreasing the taxable value of industrial wind turbines was introduced today by Sen. VanderWall.

National Energy Stories

Michigan Energy Events  

Legislators are invited to attend the Institute for Energy Innovation’s Energy 101 event on February 20th at the Michigan Municipal League (208 N. Capitol Ave, Lansing; basement room) from 12:00 – 3:30pm. A cocktail hour open to Michigan EIBC members will follow from 4pm – 6pm. 

Join Michigan EIBC on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 for our 7th Annual Member Meeting at the MSU Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center. 

National Energy Events    
The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Winter Policy Summit is February 10-13, 2019 in Washingtion DC. Click here for more information.

The 12th annual Storage Week is February 25-27 in San Francisco.

The Solar Power Finance & Investment Summit is March 19-21 in San Diego.
Attend the Midwest Renewable Energy Summit on April 16-18, 2019, in Chicago, IL.