Newsletter: Community Solar, Investigation into Anti-Siting Initiative 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:


Community Solar Benefits All Electric Customers

Michigan EIBC has been working on expanding opportunities for community solar in Michigan that give more residential customers the ability to share in the benefits of distributed solar energy, with our most recent efforts focusing on the regulatory approval of Consumers Energy’s voluntary green pricing program

Now, a new article in Utility Dive provides a compelling case for community solar. Written by Coalition for Community Solar Access CEO Jeff Cramer and Institute for Local Self Reliance Co-Director John Farrell, the article persuasively responds to claims that community solar shifts costs onto customers who don’t subscribe to solar.

“The truth is that research and numerous cost-benefit analyses show that investing in smaller projects built on the distribution network — like community and rooftop solar — bring unique benefits to all ratepayers on the grid. And when those benefits are properly accounted for, the costs for electric customers are virtually identical to utility-scale projects,” the article states. “That’s because when you build smaller projects, in-state, closer to where the energy is being consumed, you make more efficient use of existing infrastructure and allow utilities to avoid poles, wires and transformer costs they would otherwise pass onto ratepayers.”

Michigan EIBC’s work on community solar continues, as can be seen in a recently filed brief from Michigan EIBC, the Institute for Energy Innovation and Advanced Energy United. In the case, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) is considering Consumers Energy’s voluntary green pricing program, including its Solar Gardens program, a solar subscription program that the utility describes as community solar.

Our brief, however, explains the many ways that the program does not qualify as “true” community solar. Consumers Energy’s program is a costly program with an additional “premium” that participating customers must pay, while our testimony showed that “true” community solar programs can save customers 10% to 20% on their electric bills. 


Planet Detroit Report Takes Troubling Look at Forces Behind Anti-Siting Ballot Initiative

A hurdle for clean energy project development in Michigan has come from misinformation campaigns to block project siting at the local level, driven by interest groups that claim to represent local residents but are actually from outside the state or opposed to renewable energy for ideological reasons or both.

So since a campaign for a ballot initiative that would overturn Michigan’s new law to streamline project siting surfaced, a big question has been: who is behind this initiative, both financially and politically?

recent Planet Detroit investigation shows how hard it can be to answer that question due to the financial support for the ballot initiative coming from a dark money nonprofit. The nonprofit in question, Our Home Our Voice (OHOV) donated $53,000 to Citizens for Local Choice, the committee behind the ballot initiative, in January. If it raised that money specifically for the ballot initiative, OHOV could be guilty of a campaign finance law violation, according to a lawyer who spoke to Planet Detroit.

The investigation also shows that on more than one occasion a member of Citizens for Local Choice posted on Facebook soliciting donations to OHOV. Mark Brewer, an attorney with Our Land Our Rights, which opposes the initiative, told Planet Detroit that raising money for the sole purposes of transferring it to the ballot initiative committee is an illegal act to hide donors.

Despite its name suggesting it is driven by concerns for local residents, OHOV has strong ties to the oil and gas industry and groups that oppose wind energy development generally, Planet Detroit has previously reported.

Those groups often sponsor misinformation that raise unreasonable fears about renewable energy. In building support for the bills that implemented the siting law, Michigan EIBC worked with landowners who have testified before lawmakers about how these anti-renewable energy campaigns have led to ordinances that have frustrated their ability to host renewable energy on their own land.

Last Call for Tickets to the 12th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Conference in East Lansing on April 24

Registration is open for Michigan EIBC’s most popular event of the year! Our 12th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Conference will be held April 24 at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing. Ticket sales close Wednesday April 10!Get your tickets now!

For information on sponsorship opportunities and benefits, please click here or contact Brianna Gerard at

We have just announced a second mainstage panel:

The other panels at the conference announced so far are:

We have also announced the keynote speaker:

Paula R. Glover is the President of the Alliance to Save Energy, a bipartisan, nonprofit coalition that promotes federal energy efficiency policy. Throughout her tenure, she has played a crucial role in advancing key policies such as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act while securing billions in federal funding for energy efficiency programs. Ms. Glover has also expanded the Alliance’s focus on energy justice and the development of next-generation technologies through the Active Efficiency Collaborative and the Energy 2040 Initiative. Before her tenure at the Alliance, Ms. Glover acted as President and CEO of the American Association of Blacks in Energy, advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion in energy policy discussions. Additionally, she serves on the boards of Talos Energy, the Keystone Policy Center, Clean Energy Works, and Resources for the Future, as well as holding a position on the National Petroleum Council since 2014 and acting as Trustee for Cardigan Mountain School. With 25 years of experience, Ms. Glover is passionate about realizing an energy-efficient future by leading the Alliance to Save Energy and its diverse political, corporate, and academic membership.

Thank you sponsors!








New Member

Sealed is a climate tech company on a mission to stop home energy waste by enabling contractors to install more home weatherization and electrification projects and grow their businesses. Sealed’s software, data, and analytics enable market leading products, including a one-stop rebate solution.

Renewing Members



Essential CMO
Essential CMO provides a fractional Chief Marketing Officer service to innovative renewable energy and cleantech companies to help them get critical data, ROI, and marketing performance in their marketing operations. Our purpose is to grow renewable energy businesses and forward the cause of decarbonization and electrification.

Lean & Green Michigan
Lean & Green Michigan helps commercial, industrial, multifamily and nonprofit property owners finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that are profitable for all parties – property owners, contractors, financial institutions and local governments. As of June 2023, 54 local governments representing 74% of Michigan’s population are participating in our program, and we have facilitated financing of over $215 million in advanced energy projects throughout the state.

Sunnova Energy
Sunnova is a leading national residential solar company. We believe in delivering unparalleled service, providing more choices and access to clean, affordable and reliable energy with customized options to fit any home and budget.

SunPower designs all-in-one residential solutions backed by personal customer service and the industry’s most comprehensive warranty to provide clean energy and storage to everyone. With over 35 years of dedicated solar experience, SunPower is the only U.S.-based solar company that’s been around longer than its 25-year warranty.
-Headquartered in Silicon Valley since 1985.
-Diversified portfolio leading residential and solar storage solutions.
-Exclusive access to the world’s highest efficiency solar panels featuring SunPower® Maxeon® cell technology.
-Industry leader in solar sustainability and social responsibility.
-SunPower has received more than 1,000 patents for solar innovation.

Syncarpha Capital

Syncarpha Capital was founded in 2009 to capitalize on the tremendous opportunities in the alternative energy sector and to create a vehicle that focuses on developing, owning and operating commercial and utility scale solar photovoltaic (“PV”) systems throughout the US. Our goal is to remove the roadblocks to widespread adoption of solar energy by utilities and commercial and government electricity buyers — as well as residential customers through our new community solar offerings

Ranked #18 on the Forbes List of America’s Largest Private Companies, Tenaska does business across the energy value chain. Tenaska Marketing Ventures (TMV) and Tenaska Power Services Co. (TPS) are among the largest natural gas and electric power marketing companies in North America. Tenaska has developed, managed and/or operated approximately 22 gigawatts (GW) of natural gas-fueled and renewables generation. Its development services portfolios include more than 23 GW of solar, wind, energy storage and carbon sequestration projects and Tenaska’s current operating fleet includes 7.5 GW of natural gas and renewable generating facilities. More information is available at

Michigan Energy News

  • In light of the news that a federal loan may allow the Palisades nuclear plant to reopen, the Detroit Free Press publishes a history of nuclear energy in Michigan.
  • AG Dana Nessel describes DTE’s upcoming proposed electric rate increase as “absurd.”
  • Gov. Whitmer calls for federal policies to support tourism businesses negatively affected by increasingly warm winters.
  • Planet Detroit profiles Detroit Voltage, a Black woman-owned business installing EV charging stations across the city.

National Energy News

  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission issues new licensing guidance intended to reduce regulatory uncertainty for new types of nuclear reactors.
  • The California Independent System Operator releases a draft plan for $6.1 billion in new transmission lines.
  • A 680-MW battery project is replacing a gas combustion plant in a Southern California city.
  • carbon capture project being built at an ethanol plant in Illinois is creating local controversy over the risk of a potential spill.

Job Board

Attention Michigan EIBC members: if you have a job announcement you would like in the newsletter, please send a paragraph describing the position and a link to apply to Matt Bandyk at Please include in the email a specific end date for the job posting.

5 Lakes Energy

Summer Intern. Location: Remote.

5 Lakes Energy is looking for flexible and self-motivated interns at the advanced undergraduate or graduate level interested in climate and energy policy. 5LE’s work is rooted in quantitative analysis, and applicants should expect that most projects will require some degree of technical analysis, with Excel as our primary analytical tool. 

This year, 5LE is offering 3 opportunities –

  • Building a Year-long Hourly Power Demand Forecast to Support Widespread Electrification of Michigan’s Manufacturers mentored by Elizabeth Boatman, Ph.D., Consultant 
  • Public Sector Clean Energy Research Assistant mentored by Rick Bunch, Senior Consultant
  • Developing a Python-based Integrated Resource Planning Model mentored by Eli Gold, Senior Consultant

To learn more about these opportunities and to apply, please review the information in this document.


Project Manager, Community Consulting (MI). Location: Michigan/Remote.

The Project Manager, Community Consulting supports municipalities and community-based organizations applying for federal funding; assisting with strategic planning, grant writing, fund development and community engagement planning.  The Project Manager maintains client relationships and assists with program development for initiatives related to sustainable communities with an emphasis on affordable housing and energy and water efficiency, renewable energy, decarbonization and community resilience. Projects focus on providing technical assistance to communities to help them achieve their sustainability goals by identifying funding opportunities, connecting them to technical resources, and providing expertise in policy and program design centered on equity, economic inclusion, and community and stakeholder engagement. This position requires experience with community engagement best practices and grant writing and/or grant management. The Project Manager, Community Consulting collaborates with others in the National Strategic Engagement team and with core service departments of Elevate, as well as our national partner organizations.
The Project Manager reports directly to the Senior Director, Community Consulting. The position is located in Michigan. This position is currently fully remote with travel as needed.


Michigan and National Energy Events

From March 20 to April 24, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) is hosting a number of virtual and in-person listening sessions regarding the U.S. Department of Energy’s Home Energy Rebate (HER) Program. Registration is requested for planning purposes. Visit the HER Program website for more information.

Michigan EIBC’s 12th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Conference will be held April 24 at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing. Get your tickets now!

Join Michigan EGLE for the 2024 Michigan Healthy Climate Conference at the Lansing Center on May 16-17Register here.



Michigan EGLE is launching the Renewables Ready Communities Award (RRCA), which makes Michigan municipalities that have, on or after October 1, 2023, begun physically hosting and performing local permitting for any portion of an eligible renewable energy project eligible for awards of $5,000 per MW. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until Sept. 30. More information on this opportunity can be found on the RRCA Webpage.

The Michigan Public Service Commission has created a website tracking its progress implementing Public Acts 229, 231, 233, 234, and 235, passed on Nov. 8, 2023 and signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Nov. 28.

The MPSC has posted for public review all the applications it has received in response to a request for proposals for funding through a renewable energy and electrification infrastructure enhancement and development grant program. The final deadline for proposals is April 29.

Invest In Our Future is hiring for several positions, including a Program Manager with regional connections in the Midwest.

Michigan EGLE has several open grant applications related to energy efficiency for businesses, local governments, tribal governments and farmers, as well as support for public, private, or nonprofit entities for deploying publicly available fast-charging electric vehicle stations along the Lake Michigan Circuit. These applications have various deadlines from January to March of 2024. Find more information here.

On April 9, DTE is tentatively planning to issue an All Source Renewable Energy RFP. Email for more information.

The U.S. Department of Energy has issued a funding opportunity announcement for grants to “fund research, development, and prototype or pilot scale technology validation and demonstration activities that will accelerate the development and adoption of sustainable technologies that increase efficiency and eliminate industrial GHG emissions for the most energy- and emissions- intensive industrial subsectors.” The deadline is June 11Learn more here,