Newsletter: Harvest Solar and Lakeshore Die Cast in the News 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:


Read Michigan EIBC Member Harvest Solar in the Detroit News

Renewable energy creates jobs and brings tax revenue to rural communities, and in a recent opinion article in the Detroit News, Ken Zebarah of Michigan EIBC member Harvest Solar illustrates this point with the story of his company and the solar projects it has installed around the state.

“Many clean energy projects happen in rural areas where open spaces and bountiful natural resources provide a competitive advantage,” Zebarah writes. “Our industry is proud to partner with farmers and respect their decision to choose to harvest solar energy or continue using land for agricultural purposes. More and more, though, their choice is the former.”

But the value of solar energy needs defending against the waves of misinformation being spread. “Every day, my team and I talk to farmers and rural business owners who have questions about false claims they’ve seen or heard surrounding solar production,” according to Zebarah.

“As we educate folks about the potential of solar in these terms, people begin to understand the enormous potential of capitalizing on our natural resources, including the opportunities for farmers to generate on-site solar energy for their own farm,” he writes.


A Story of Solar, Schools and Michigan EIBC Member Lakeshore Die Cast

This week’s news has a story involving a Michigan EIBC member, Lakeshore Die Cast, that showcases the tangible benefits of both federal grants and solar energy for businesses and schools.

Lakeshore Die Cast, based in Baroga in southwestern Michigan, makes aluminum and zinc die castings used in automotive, aerospace, construction and medical industries. About three years ago, Lakeshore Die Cast owner Adam Schaller installed two large solar arrays that allowed his business to “completely break free from his monthly utility bill,” as reported by Michigan news site The ‘Gander on May 15.

Now Schaller wants to help his local school district Bridgman Public Schools enjoy the savings created by installing solar with the help of a $250,000 grant awarded last year from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program. This summer the district will be accepting bids from contractors to install solar panels to serve its schools, and the grant will help reduce the upfront costs of that project by up to 75%.

The grant was awarded to Lakeshore Sales Corp., a venture formed by Schaller to help make the project happen for the school district. “For me, this is an opportunity to use what I’ve learned to help out my local school district,” The ‘Gander reported Schaller as saying. “That’s really what’s most important to me as a member of this community.”


EV Roundtable Held in Lansing

On May 15 Michigan EIBC and Clean Fuels Michigan hosted a second electric vehicle roundtable in Lansing with industry experts and policy makers. The meeting was part of a joint effort to develop a comprehensive roadmap to serve as a guide of the critical policies and programs that would enable Michigan’s goal of having 2 million EVs on the road and 100,000 EV chargers deployed by 2030.

At the roundtable, attendees discussed the key steps to implement several of the most critical policies to enable charging infrastructure buildout, encourage EV adoption, and ensure grid reliability. Stay tuned in the coming months for the public release of the roadmap and additional public events! 


Renewing Members


CleanCapital is a diversified clean energy company focused on the middle-market solar and storage industry. Mission-driven to mitigate the climate crisis, CleanCapital leads the energy transition with strategic investments in early-stage, new construction, and operating renewables projects and development partners. To date, the company has invested $1 billion in projects and companies, including the acquisition of BQ Energy, a national leader in landfill and brownfield renewable energy development. The company has successfully acquired and managed more than 200 operating and new construction projects in 26 states and one U.S. territory, totaling more than 400 MW.

SunVest Solar
SunVest is a developer of commercial/industrial and community solar projects.

Michigan Energy News

National Energy News

  • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s new landmark order on transmission planning could be a “huge winner for consumers,” some experts say.
  • AEP Ohio is developing new tariffs in anticipation of about 30 GW of potential data center load.
  • The U.S. industrial sector is set to surpass the transportation sector as the country’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report from Rhodium Group.
  • The city of Portland, Maine, is considering creating a “climate trust fund” that would be financed through the sale of renewable energy credits generated by the city’s solar projects.

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.


Stakeholder Relations Advisor. Location: Remote (Indiana, Michigan).

The Stakeholder Relations Advisor will work within AES Clean Energy’s Stakeholder Relations team in the central US, specifically MISO North, to include Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and other states, as assigned. This is an exciting opportunity to have a career in industry-leading engagement strategies to empower communities and advance a carbon-free future. This role will support AES’ strategic renewable energy-related stakeholder engagement, local community relations, drafting communications and collateral materials for strategic planning and social impact partnership development. This role will report to the Manager of Stakeholder Relations MISO. 


Manager, Business Analysis & Quality Assurance. Location: Chicago/Hybrid Remote.

The Manager of Business Analysis and Quality Assurance serves a key role in facilitating Elevate’s program delivery by ensuring program requirements are captured, and software is developed to meet program needs while overseeing the Business Analysis and Quality Assurance teams. This role collaborates with Elevate management and staff to effectively complete their responsibilities.


Michigan and National Energy Events

Register for Michigan EIBC’s Public Convening on Microgrids on May 22 in Grand Rapids, sponsored by Michigan EGLE.

Registration is open for the Mid-America Regulatory Conference (MARC) 2024 Annual Conference on June 9-12 in Minneapolis.

The 68th Annual Michigan Energy Providers Conference will be held at the Grand Traverse Resort July 25-26Register here.



Michigan EIBC member Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Tech is managing a mobility prototyping grant for Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Office for Future Mobility & Electrification (OFME). Centrepolis Accelerator will award up to $50,000 to at least eight companies, focusing technical assistance services on: Product Development, Prototyping, Product Testing, and Manufacturing Readiness. Applications for the grant can be submitted at this link and are due May 28.

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 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,

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.

Michigan EGLE is offering at least $320,000 in funding MI Solar Communities-MI Solar Access Program. Applications will be accepted through March 31, 2025, or when funding is expended, whichever comes first. Find the request for proposals for MI Solar Access here.