Michigan EIBC Kicks Off Tour of Member Companies, PACE Financing, New EV Legislation

Michigan EIBC 2019 Tour Stops at Michigan Solar Solutions

Michigan EIBC Vice President of Policy Cory Connolly is hitting the road to see firsthand the exciting work our member companies are up to. Every month Cory is visiting another company. The first stop on the trip was Michigan Solar Solutions, where Cory got a tour of their Wixom headquarters and warehouse.

He got a rundown of the entire cycle of their operations, from sales to install to inventory processing. Keeping the warehouse stocked is a big job given Michigan Solar Solutions’ workload. The company is installing a solar array for a customer about two and a half times a week. The customer base is all over the Lower Peninsula and is made up of both residential and commercial clients.

Cory’s visit came at a time when distributed solar installers in Michigan are facing new pressures. DTE Energy’s new tariff for distributed generation replaces net metering with a rate for inflows of electricity and a rate for outflows from a distributed generation project that does not fully recognize the value of DG like rooftop solar. 

But, as Cory learned during his visit, one development pushing back against that setback is a growing interest in battery storage and electric vehicle chargers. Michigan Solar Solutions’ customers are increasingly interested in adding batteries to their solar arrays. A charged battery can be deployed at times when the sun is not shining, reducing the amount of time that a DG user is drawing more energy from the grid than he or she is sending to it.

Michigan Solar Solutions President Mark Hagerty recently explained in testimony before the Michigan Senate Energy and Technology Committee how the new DG tariff impedes the transition to a distributed grid.  

PACE Financing Continuing to Grow Across Michigan

Energy efficiency projects financed by commercial property assessed clean energy (C-PACE) transactions are growing. Michigan EIBC member Petros PACE Finance, LLC recently announced that it had closed a $1.3 million transaction for the YMCA in Battle Creek that will finance improvements to reduce the facility’s electricity use by 47%.

This is Petros’ 8th PACE transaction in Michigan and its first with a nonprofit customer in the state.

The loan from Petros to the Battle Creek YMCA will be paid off over the 22-year project term through an assessment on the YMCA’s property taxes. The total savings over the term of the project are expected to be $3.2 million. The energy conservation measures the YMCA will pursue include pool dehumidification units and upgrades to HVAC and lighting.

This is the first PACE project for Calhoun County, made possible by the county joining the Lean & Green Michigan PACE program run by Michigan EIBC member Lean & Green Michigan. Click here to see which counties and cities in Michigan participate in the program and are thus eligible for PACE projects. 

“Many nonprofits have high utility costs, but are too capital-constrained to justify the upfront expenses associated with energy-saving upgrades,” Petros CEO Mansoor Ghori said in a statement. “C-PACE makes it feasible for them to make these upgrades without diverting funds from their core mission because the savings generated will outpace the annual payments from the very beginning.”

New Legislation Seeks to Spur Statewide EV Charging Network

This week, members of the Michigan House and Senate announced a package of bills on electric vehicles. The package, which is bipartisan and bicameral, would help remove barriers to charging and support the development of a statewide charging network for electric vehicles. A summary of the bills are included below: 

  • HB 4786: Create the Electric Vehicle Council within the Michigan Department of Transportation to create a statewide, comprehensive charging infrastructure plan to expand Michigan’s charging network in a cost-effective way.
  • HB 4787: Allow the state to install or lease space for EV charging stations at state park and rides.  
  • HB 4788: Allow the state to install or lease space for installation of EV charging stations in state parks. 
  • HB 4789: Create tax incentives for small businesses and multi-unit housing to install EV charging stations.

In addition to following legislation on electric vehicles, Michigan EIBC continues to help advance the conversation on advanced transportation through our series of EV convenings. On July 11, Michigan EIBC will host it’s 8th EV convening on the topic of making electric vehicles accessible to all Michiganders. We’ll be joined by Brandy Brown, climate and energy advisor for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, to kick off the conversation.

Michigan Energy News

  • Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel files a lawsuit that would shut down Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline.
  • DTE Energy’s current president and COO Jerry Norcia will succeed Gerry Anderson as CEO effective July 1. Anderson will continue as executive chairman of DTE’s board.
  • A Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) appraisal finds that natural gasdemand for 2019 will increase 1.4%.
  • UPPCO’s high residential electric rates have to do with the utility’s ownership structure, writes a Marquette resident.
  • The Upper Peninsula as a whole is in a state of transition away from coal and toward more renewables, according to an article that quotes the three MPSC commissioners.
  • Michigan Radio reports on how the majority of members of the public at the recent Detroit forum on DTE’s long-term integrated resource plan (IRP) were opposed to the plan.
  • The Natural Resources Defense Council praises new electric vehicle initiatives in Michigan.

National Energy News

  • Democrats in Congress introduce a bill that would create a national renewable energy standard.
  • settlement between Minnesota’s Xcel Energy and clean energy organizations to retire the utility’s last coal-fired units also includes 3,000 MW of solar power and an energy efficiency goal to reduce demand by as much as 830 MW.
  • Ohio’s energy efficiency standards, which could be cut as a result of the controversial legislation to subsidize coal and nuclear plants, save Ohioans $2 a month on their electric bills from lower market prices, on top of the savings from using less electricity, according to a study.
  • The Consortium for Battery Innovation is testing lead-acid batteries at gas stations in Missouri to see if the costs of these batteries can be covered by reductions in demand fees on electric vehicle charging stations.
  • A $1.3 billion Nevada mining project could increase domestic lithium production sixfold, potentially lowering the costs of lithium-ion batteries even further.
  • Duke Energy’s Indiana utility is under fire for proposing a resource plan that allegedly skimps on wind, solar and battery storage.
  • The New York Times tells the story of roadblocks for one proposed wind farm on a small island in Lake Ontario to demonstrate the difficulties New York state will face meeting its ambitious clean energy goals.
  • Wisconsin’s recently passed budget contains a provision to allow Tesla to open dealerships in the state.

Michigan Energy Events  

The 63rd annual Michigan Energy Providers Conference will be held July 24 to 26 at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. The conference will include speakers such as FERC Commissioner Neil Chatterjee and CMS Energy and Consumers Energy President and CEO Patti Poppe.

National Energy Events

Attend the Clean Cities Renewable Procurement Summit in Denver, Colorado July 23-25. Register here.

Attend the Grid Evolution Summit hosted by SEPA on July 29 – August 1, 2019 | Washington, DC