Newsletter: Solar Producers and Customers Rally and Testify for True Net Metering

This newsletter was originally published on August 17, 2015.

Solar Producers and Customers Rally and Testify for True Net Metering

On Wednesday, Michigan EIBC, The Alliance for Solar Choice, TUSK and the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association co-hosted the Rally to Save Solar Choice. Joined by dozens of solar companies and solar purchasers in Michigan’s net metering program, many spoke out against SB 438, which would eliminate the renewable portfolio standard, the energy optimization standard for electric utilities and the net metering program. Under the bill, purchasers of rooftop solar on the grid would not be allowed to use any of the electricity they produced. Instead, all electricity would be sold to the grid at wholesale price, and then the household would have to purchase all energy at the increased retail price.

The rally was followed by testimony in front of the Senate Energy and Technology Committee. Both SolarCity and Sun Run came to testify on behalf of The Alliance for Solar Choice. Others spoke out in favor of true net metering, including John Sarver of the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Alliance, Allan O’Shea from CBS Solar and Jeremy Zinn of Oak Electric. All made their points clear: that net metering is needed to make rooftop solar a viable option, that they are paying to use the grid and that net metering helps every ratepayer.

Michigan EIBC will continue to push for energy policies that support the growth of advanced energy in Michigan. But we need your help. Here are three things you can do to support advanced energy in Michigan:

  1. Testify at next week’s Senate Energy and Technology Committee hearing. While backers of the bills like to write-off are nothing more than “out of state special interests,” we know that Michigan’s current energy policies have led to $3 billion in investment, saved ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars, and are growing at double digit annual rates. Join Michigan EIBC at next week’s committee hearing and make your voice heard. (And better yet, contact Greg Moore in Senator Nofs’s office and ask to be put on the agenda.)
  2. Send your Senators a letter sharing your views on the proposed legislation. This legislation would eliminate the state’s energy efficiency programs, eliminate the renewable energy standard, and eliminate net metering for solar customers. They need to hear from you! You can find your Senator here (and make sure to contact the Senator who represents both your home and your business!).
  3. Join Michigan EIBC for a legislative lobby day on Wednesday, September 23. We’ll be taking our positive message of investment and job creation directly to key lawmakers – and letting them know the devastating impact of these proposed changes on our industry. We need you in the room! Contact Michigan EIBC to let us know if you can participate.


Michigan EIBC Renewing Members

The Right Place

Serving West Michigan since 1985, The Right Place, Inc. is a regional non-profit economic development organization supported through investments from the private and public sector. The Right Place drives regional Economic Development initiatives to stimulate economic growth, wealth creation, and operational excellence by focusing on productivity, innovation, and the retention and creation of quality employment in the West Michigan community. Since its beginning, The Right Place has assisted thousands of West Michigan companies, to invest more than $3 billion in capital and create more than 40,000 jobs.

Staffed by a team of economic development and business professionals with more than 150 years of combined experience, The Right Place concentrates on the following strategic priorities:

  • Leading West Michigan business development efforts
  • Identifying and developing emerging growth opportunities
  • Strengthening the global competitiveness and innovation of our existing regional manufacturers

Want to make sure your business has a seat at the table? Join Michigan EIBC today! New members are just $350 for their first year. Contact Nicole Forward for more information.


Michigan Energy News

Crain’s Detroit Business has a piece on how major utilities believe the Clean Power Plan will create jobs.

The Michigan House Democrats held a press conference calling for action on their energy package introduced earlier this year.

Both Rick Wilson, vice president of operations at Heritage Sustainable Energy and former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm wrote opinion pieces on the economic benefits of the Clean Power Plan.

Consumers Energy announced its community solar program that could generate up to 10 MW of electricity

MLive had a piece about this week’s Senate Energy Committee testimony on net metering.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette joined 14 other states in legally challenging the Clean Power Plan.

Alpena Power Company has ended their renewable energy surcharge, joining DTE and Consumers, another example and result of the dramatic decreases in the cost of renewable energy in Michigan.


National Energy News

A dozen senators are calling on the Securities and Exchange Commission to determine whether oil and gas companies are fully disclosing the economic and environmental risks associated with their offshore operations to their investors.

The Wall Street Journal has a piece highlighting three Asian companies that are dominating the electric car battery business, including LG Chem, which operates a facility in Michigan.

Utility Dive has a piece on the possible benefits of regional plans to comply with the Clean Power Plan.

Trina Solar has posted its biggest profit in four years, boosting its shipment forecast by 16 percent.

Washington Post has a piece on utility solar gardens and the tense dynamic between power producers and rooftop solar companies.  

Michigan EIBC member SunEdison is building a 156 MW solar project in California that beats natural gas in terms of cost.


Upcoming Michigan Energy Events

The September Michigan Energy Forum meeting will be held Thursday, September 10 from 5-7pm at Ann Arbor SPARK. The theme for the September meeting is “Michigan Solar Industry Update – Policy and Market Trends.” Michigan EIBC Vice President for Policy and Business Engagement Liesl Eichler Clark is organizing the event. The event is free to attend; registration deadline is Friday, September 4.

Learn about Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing at a free panel discussion, “Keeping PACE with Energy Efficiency in Michigan,” Wednesday, September 9 from 3:30-5 p.m. at the Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center, Grand Rapids Community College, 143 Bostwick Ave NE, Grand Rapids.

The Battery Show Exhibition and Conference will be held September 15-17 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. The event is also home to the Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo.

The Upper Peninsula Economic Development Alliance is hosting a seminar, “Keeping U.P. on Energy,” on Wednesday, September 16, 2015, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m.. Register here.

The Annual UP Energy Summit will take place Wednesday, September 30 in Marquette.

The October Michigan Energy Forum meeting will take place Thursday, October 1 at Ann Arbor SPARK. The theme for the October meeting is Waste-to-Energy.

The Michigan EIBC will be hosting their next West Michigan Advanced Energy Business Networking Event on Thursday, October 15 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Register here.

The 2015 Michigan Advanced Lighting Conference, featuring the Michigan Solid State Lighting Association Annual Symposium, will take place Wednesday, October 29 in Lansing.

SAVE THE DATE: The 3rd Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala will be held Tuesday, November 10 at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing. More details and registration will be available soon.


Upcoming National Energy Events

Solar Power International will be held this year from September 14-17 in Anaheim, California.

The ACEEE National Conference on Energy Efficiency as a Resource will take placeSeptember 20-22 in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Fortune’s ’Brainstorm E: Where Energy, Technology, and Sustainability Meet’ will take place September 28-29 in Austin.  


Additional Resources

Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is home to PowerSuite, a suite of tools that allows companies a one-stop on-line portal to search, track, and collaborate on state legislation and regulatory proceedings from around the country.

PowerSuite includes both BillBoard, the AEE dashboard for managing state legislation, and DocketDash, the AEE dashboard for managing state public utility commission proceedings. Subscription required. is a national solar permitting database that provides information on permitting for solar in jurisdictions across the country. The database includes a variety of information, from average permit turnaround times, to information required to be included in the permit, to contact information for individual jurisdictions. You can browse the requirements for the Michigan cities included in the database here.

The U.S. Department of Energy is offering A Guide to Federal Finance Facilities Available for Energy Efficiency Upgrades and Clean Energy Deployment. The downloadable guide provides information about the various federal financing programs available for energy efficiency and renewable energy — making it easier for state, local and tribal leaders, along with their partners in the private sector, to find capital for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

The Department of Energy has offers free public access to accepted peer-reviewed manuscripts or published scientific journal articles from projects funded by the DOE within 12 months of publication.