IEI Report On Solar Philanthropy, Michigan EIBC Is Hiring and More

Welcome to the weekly newsletter of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (Michigan EIBC), the business voice for advanced energy in Michigan. Here’s what’s new this week:

IEI Issues Report On Overcoming Funding Barriers for Solar with Philanthropy

Solar energy is growing rapidly due to favorable economics, yet remains expensive and difficult to obtain for certain types of potential distributed solar users. A newly released Institute for Energy Innovation (IEI) report examines the barriers for distributed solar financing, and lays out recommendations for philanthropy to help bridge this divide, with a special attention to solar funding methods for farmers, nonprofits and low-and-moderate income households.

The report, Funding the Sun: Options for Michigan Philanthropy to Support Customer-sited Solar, draws on interviews with solar financiers, developers and others, as well as case studies, to determine the biggest challenges and opportunities for the availability of various methods of funding for customer-sited solar projects. Several recommendations emerge, including:

  • Enabling PPAs for nonprofits and schools by providing concessionary debt to cover a portion of the project cost.
  • Establish a solar-specific grant program for nonprofits and schools with participation from multiple philanthropic funders.
  • Leverage existing programs to expand options for farmers such as by pairing a grant program with an existing loan program that leverages a loan loss reserve.

Read the full report here.

Renewables To Dominate New Capacity In 2021, DOE’s Energy Information Administration Says

Renewable energy sources will make up a strong majority of new power capacity in 2021, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s survey of the current status of existing and proposed generating units at electric power plants.

Battery storage is particularly prominent in EIA’s survey, with its capacity expected to quadruple this year. With 4.3 GW of capacity additions, battery storage makes up 11% of new capacity in 2021, nearly as much as natural gas at 16%. A big chunk of that storage capacity will come from the 409-MW battery—the world’s largest—being built at Florida Power & Light’s Manatee Solar Energy Center.

The EIA said solar will account for about 39% of new capacity, followed by wind at 31%. That’s a shift from last year, when new wind additions led new solar additions

Overall, renewables’ position leading new electric capacity for 2021 shows great progress made since 2017, when renewable made up just less than half of new capacity. The EIA’s analysis comes right after the agency announced that renewable energy consumption surpassed coal consumption for the first time in 130 years.

We’re Hiring an Energy Policy Expert

The Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (Michigan EIBC) and Institute for Energy Innovation (IEI) are hiring a full-time energy policy expert to support our expanding regulatory, legislative, and industry sector-specific efforts.

The deadline for applying is Feb. 10, 2021. Details about the desired qualifications for the job and how to apply are on the Michigan EIBC website

Meet Our Interns – Phillip Jovanovski

After a recent internship with Michigan EIBC member ITC Holdings, Phillip Jovanovski’s eyes were opened “to all the fulfilling work that there is to be done in order to achieve a future with abundant renewable and clean energy,” he says.

Hailing from Novi, Phillip is a senior at the University of Michigan, studying Political Science and the History of Law and Policy. He started interning for Michigan EIBC at the beginning of November. He is compiling reports on the MI Power Grid workshops going on at the Michigan Public Service Commission and helping to draft comments in regulatory cases/stakeholder workgroups.

No matter where his career takes him, in the long run Phillip hopes to be “preserving the environment by working to implement/advocate for clean energy policies and regulations in the state of Michigan,” he says. 

Renewing Members 

EVolution Electric Vehicle Systems, LLC
EVolution Electric Vehicle Systems, LLC provides electric vehicle charging infrastructure, on and off vehicle high voltage battery charging products, and a wide variety of components for electric vehicle charging. EVolution EVS works with customers throughout the State of Michigan and across USA through their affiliation with ClipperCreek providing level 2 EV charging infrastructure for all applications from basic home charging station to the most advanced networked EV charging systems for commercial EV fleets and high density public parking lots also with a focus on providing market leading value and product reliability. We have been increasingly involved in the expanding technologies involved with EV charging including Vehicle to Grid, EV battery re-purposing, Solar energy storage, EV charger energy monitoring and advanced load management.

Commonwealth Associates, Inc. 
Commonwealth Associates, Inc. (“Commonwealth”) is a 100% employee-owned and -managed engineering and consulting firm profiled among the 2017 Top 10 Electrical Design Firms in the nation by EC&M magazine. Every day, our team of nearly 300 project managers, engineers, environmental experts, real estate brokers, licensed UAV pilots and other team members combine their talents to influence and shape the secure energy future. We do this by collaborating and innovating to meet the emerging needs of our utility, IPP, governmental, industrial and institutional clients. We also provide leadership to 4the industry through our professionals’ active involvement planning and presenting at industry conferences and serving on the committees that are writing tomorrow’s standards today. Our primary focus areas include: Power Generation and Energy, including Distributed Energy Resources and Microgrids; Electrical System Studies; Transmission and Distribution Line Engineering; Substation Engineering; Environmental and Permitting Services; Land and Right of Way Services; and Owners Engineering. Headquartered in Jackson, Michigan, Commonwealth has offices in Atlanta, Georgia; Columbus, Ohio; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Seattle, Washington; and Spokane, Washington.

Covanta Kent, Inc.
The Kent County Waste to Energy facility is critical to Kent County’s integrated solid waste system:
• It generates electricity for 11,000 homes, about the number of residences in the City of Walker
• It’s a baseload energy source diversifying Michigan’s renewable energy portfolio
• We’ve recovered over 124,000 tons of scrap steel that would have otherwise not been recycled
• We preserved 10 years of South Kent Landfill airspace, extending the life of the landfill
• We provide good jobs for 50 employees
• It generated 114,650,000 KWh of electricity in 2019

McNaughton-McKay Electric Company 
McNaughton-McKay Electric Company is a leading distributor of electrical products for the industrial, automation, commercial, and construction markets. We opened in 1910 and are headquartered in Madison Heights, Michigan with 22 additional locations in 5 States and Germany. Each of our branch locations are committed to ensuring your needs are being met and we truly understand your business and industry goals.

Michigan Saves
Michigan Saves is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making energy improvements easy and affordable. We operate as a green bank to offer financing programs that help Michigan residents take control of their energy costs through efficiency and renewable projects.

PACE Loan Group 
Founded in 2017, PLG is led by career financial and commercial real estate professionals and has established itself as a leading direct PACE lender nationwide.  

Michigan Energy News

  • Michigan EIBC member Pine Gate Renewables has completed five solar energy projects in Genesee County and three in Saginaw County that will provide energy to Consumers Energy under 20-year power purchase agreements.
  • Michigan EIBC member Chart House Energy and New Energy Equity complete a 326-kW solar project on municipal buildings in Norton Shores.
  • Under a new partnership Michigan EIBC member CBS Solar will be manufacturing and selling four-panel solar tracking systems designed by the Traverse City-based startup Traverse Solar.
  • London and Milan townships in southeast Michigan will be receiving grants to support public health, economic development, sustainability and education under a new program from Michigan EIBC member Apex Clean Energy, which is developing the Azalia Solar Energy farm in the townships.
  • The 150-MW Gratiot Farms wind project that Consumers Energy purchased from Michigan EIBC member Enel Green Power America is now operational.
  • General Motors is using this year’s Consumer Electronics Show to unveil new EV features.

National Energy News

  • The International Code Council, the body that develops energy codes that shape building efficiency, is considering changes to its voting process that could diminish the role of the public sector in favor of industry groups that often oppose stricter efficiency standards.
  • A Massachusetts Institute of Technology study finds that expanding the transmission system with interstate coordination can reduce the costs of decarbonizing the U.S. grid by 2040 by 46%.
  • Wyoming is seeing revenue from wind energy fill gaps in state coffers due to the decline in coal and oil and gas industries.
  • Indian Energy, a Native American-owned and operated battery storage and microgrid company, receives a grant from the California Energy Commission to develop long-duration energy storage at U.S. Marine Corps base Camp Pendleton.
  • The island of Kauai, Hawaii, will use a solar-charged water pumping system to bring the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative’s electricity mix to 80% renewable.
  • The first offshore wind tower manufacturing facility in the U.S. will be built near the port of Albany, New York.

Michigan and National Energy Events

 Register now for the next entry in the UP Clean Energy Series, to be held Jan. 14, titled “Solar Energy Case Studies – Lessons from On the Ground Projects.”

The Michigan Energy Providers Conference has the first of its “MEPC Presents” events scheduled for Jan. 22. The topic is “How to Make Michigan Carbon Neutral by 2050.” Click here for the agenda. There is no registration fee.

The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance’s 2021 Midwest Energy Solutions Conference will be from Feb. 16 to Feb. 19Register here.

The National Regulatory Research Institute has a three-part webinar series on “The Impact of COVID-19 on Utility Rate Making.”

Due to COVID-19, PlugVolt is offering complimentary access to a webinar series that provides a guide to how to select primary and secondary cells for battery products.

Norton Rose Fulbright regularly organizes webinars featuring experts and executives of major companies, such as this one on the challenges that COVID-19 and low commodity prices pose to the energy industry.

The Clean Energy Group has a huge archive of webinars and presentations related to net metering, energy efficiency, EVs, energy storage and much more.

The Energy Storage Association has a number of upcoming and recorded webinars covering many different facets of energy storage.  


 Centrepolis is offering the Michigan Cleantech Hardware Accelerator program as funded by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. The program supports Michigan-based entrepreneurs and small businesses who are developing cleantech hardware products or processes that provide an energy efficiency or energy waste reduction benefit. Funding can be applied for to support product development and demonstration activities. Contact Dan Radomski or visit
The Green Task Force is requesting that non-profit and faith-based organizations fill out a brief survey to assess readiness for solar projects.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s PlanetM Testing Grant gives mobility companies the opportunity to access testing facilities around the state, including Mcity at the University of Michigan. Apply here.

The Detroit 2030 District is a free program that challenges Detroit building owners and managers to reduce wasted energy. Those that achieve the greatest reductions from the prior-year baseline will be recognized at the first annual Detroit Energy Challenge Award Ceremony in 2021. Visit to find out more information including how a building can apply.