Powering Michigan Forward Senate Hearing; EV Roundtable; and Michigan Saves

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:


Michigan EIBC and Members Make Case for Solar Jobs at Senate Hearing

Michigan EIBC members came out to a packed Senate Energy and Technology Committee hearing on Feb. 11 to explain to state legislators why the Powering Michigan Forward legislation is critical to the health and growth of Michigan’s solar industry and the thousands of jobs it provides.

The need for the legislation is urgent because the growth of rooftop solar has been so fast that the legislative caps on the amount of distributed generation in each utility’s service territory could soon be reached,as occurred for Upper Peninsula Power Co. (UPPCO) last year. After UPPCO’s cap was hit, the utility agreed in a rate case settlement to double the cap. The new residential solar cap will likely be reached again early this year. 

Consumers Energy’s solar program is also expected to reach capacity sometime this fall, Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman said in testimony before the committee. If the caps are reached, new work would immediately stop for the thousands of rooftop solar installers across the state.

In this scenario, revenue would dramatically decline, forcing layoffs, Mark Hagerty, president and CEO of Michigan EIBC member Michigan Solar Solutions, said in testimony at the hearing. “The damage would already be done” if the caps were increased too late, he said.

Without the passage of the Powering Michigan Forward legislation, thousands of jobs related to solar “will be gone in months,” Mark Olinyk, president of Michigan EIBC member Harvest Solar, said in his testimony.

The bills would eliminate the current cap and create a process for fairly compensating rooftop solar users for the energy they generate. Those changes would allow Michigan to build from the progress it has already made with rooftop solar. Jayson Waller, founder and CEO of Michigan EIBC member POWERHOME Solar, pointed out at the hearing that while his company has offices in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois and other states, “Michigan is our biggest market.”

“Jobs in the solar industry are growing rapidly as more customers want the ability to produce their own low-cost power,” Sherman said. “These bills are critical to ensuring that this industry is able to continue to thrive in Michigan.”  

Automotive Industry Leaders Hear About Pro-Electric Vehicle Legislative Package

On Feb. 10, Michigan EIBC VP of Policy Cory Connolly spoke on a roundtable for southeast Michigan automotive industry leaders about how to encourage the growth of EVs. The event, held at the Rochester Hills City Hall, raised support for several bills currently in the Michigan legislature that would help expand EV charging infrastructure across the state in several ways. The legislators behind this bill include Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) and Rep. Joe Bellino (R-Monroe), who both also spoke at the event.

“The world is moving toward an automated, shared, and connected mobility future – and it is all going to happen on an electrified platform,” Connolly said at the roundtable. “Investments in charging infrastructure like those included in the package of bills led by Sen. McMorrow and Rep. Bellino are crucial to make this transition possible and to help unleash private sector innovation.”

Policies to incentivize EV charging infrastructure will be discussed more at Michigan EIBC’s next EV Convening, scheduled for March 9 in Lansing. Registration will open soon.

The bills are:

-Senate Bill 406 and House Bill 4786, sponsored by Sen. McMorrow and Rep. Tim Sneller (D-Burton), would create the Electric Vehicle Council within the Michigan Department of Transportation to create a statewide charging infrastructure plan.

-Senate Bill 408 and House Bill 4787, sponsored by Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) and Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor), would allow the state to install or lease space for EV charging stations at state park and rides.

-Senate Bill 407 and House Bill 4788, sponsored by Sen. Kim LaSata (R-Bainbridge Township) and Rep. Julie Alexander (R-Jackson), would allow the state to install or lease space for installation of EV charging stations in state parks.

-Senate Bill 409 and House Bill 4789, sponsored by Sen. Michael MacDonald (R-Macomb Township) and Rep. Bellino, would create tax incentives for small businesses and multi-unit housing to install EV charging stations.  

Whitmer Seeks More Investment Into Michigan Saves and a New Green Fund

As part of her proposed fiscal year 2021 budget, Gov. Whitmer is requesting an additional $5 million to help Michigan EIBC member Michigan Saves, the state’s green bank, do more of its work incentivizing lenders to finance renewable energy and efficiency projects.

In addition, her proposed budget includes another $5 million for a “green revolving fund” that would “allow for the re-investment of funds generated from long-term cost savings in new projects and establish a long-term program focused on reducing the state’s carbon footprint,” according to Gov. Whitmer’s budget proposal, as reported by MiBiz.

Michigan Saves has financed over $230 million in projects since 2009, but has a goal of $1 billion by 2023. The green bank puts money into a loan loss reserve to reduce risk for lenders, and each dollar of investment in that reserve yields $30 in private investment, according to the article.

“We commend Governor Whitmer’s recommended investment in Michigan Saves as part of the administration’s efforts to support a cleaner environment in Michigan,” Michigan Saves president and CEO Mary Templeton said in a press release. “Affordable energy-efficiency and renewable energy improvements are key components to creating a clean energy landscape that all Michiganders can participate in and benefit from, and our credit enhancement model is a powerful financing solution supporting that goal.” 

RSVP for 8th Annual Energy Innovators Conference on April 22; Sponsorships Available

Please join Michigan EIBC on Wednesday, April 22 for the 8th Annual Energy Innovators Conference (formerly Annual Member Meeting) at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing. The keynote speaker is Patti Poppe, President and Chief Executive Officer of Jackson, Michigan-based CMS Energy and its principal subsidiary, Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest utility and the nation’s fourth largest combination utility.

Register to attend today. Sponsorship opportunities can be found on the Michigan EIBC website.

Event Sponsors

Terawatt Level




Gigawatt Level



Megawatt Level

Kilowatt Level

Renewing Members

Barton Malow
Barton Malow offers construction services in energy generation using a variety of different contracting methods to suite needs that include EPC, Construction Management, Self_Perform Services, and General Contracting. We specialize in Combined Heat and Power, Biomass, Utility Grade Solar, Wind, and Environmental Projects.

eCAMION USA Inc. engineers, manufactures and integrates energy storage systems. eCAMION using their energy storage systems also manufactures and integrates fast and super fast EV charging solutions.

Homeland Solar
Homeland Solar’s mission is to make owning one’s own power EASY and AFFORDABLE for individuals and organizations, public and private, commercial and residential. The company is an engineering, design and installation firm with a great professional reputation and a strong commitment to working with its customers to optimize energy solutions. Trust, reliability and economy are its hallmarks. Solar systems can be regarded as Mother Nature’s gift of sustainability to our pale blue dot. Why not own your own power and support sustainability? Start by sending your utility bill to estimate@homelandsolar.comor call 844-9-own-sun. Thank you.

Phoenix Contact E-Mobility
As one of the leading providers of products and services for the charging process of electric vehicles, we offer a range covering all aspects of electromobility – from individual components through to complete fleet management. Your advantages An extensive range for the charging process of electric vehicles Standard-compliant AC and DC charging systems for worldwide application Expertise in fast charging technology with the Combined Charging System (CCS) Consistent solutions from vehicle interface up to the IT and network level Special solutions for electric vehicles, electric buses, and bicycles.

Pivot EnergyPivot Energy is a Denver-based solar energy company that is focused on helping accelerate the rapid transition taking place in the energy industry toward power generation that is cleaner, and more decentralized. Pivot offers a distributed energy platform that includes a range of services and software aimed at serving the full commercial solar ecosystem, including retail customers, project developers, system operators, utilities, and financiers. The company develops, finances, builds, and manages community and commercial solar projects around the country. Pivot operates on a triple bottom line basis, measuring success by the positive impact to people, planet, and profit. Learn more at pivotenergy.net.   


Michigan Energy News

  • Gov. Whitmer’s 2021 budget includes a boost in funding for clean drinking water and efforts to mitigate impacts of climate change like shoreline erosion.
  • The Michigan Public Service Commission has approved a settlement regarding Upper Peninsula Power Co.’s integrated resource plan. 
  • Western Michigan University receives an over $9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for research on lithium-ion batteries.
  • Gov. Whitmer’s recently-formed Advisory Council for Environmental Judge will examine issues like air pollution in low-income communities and the lack of access to programs that reduce low-income customers’ energy burden.
  • A coal-fired power plant in Grand Haven is shutting down after 37 years.
  • Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel was one of several AGs that recently filed a brief in federal court in support of FERC’s order requiring regional transmission operators and independent system operators to devise ways for energy storage to participate in wholesale electricity markets.

National Energy News

  • U.S. Reps. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) have a new bill they say would set the foundation for fast-charging EV infrastructure across the national highway system.
  • report finds that an hourly pricing program can cut EV charging costs by nearly 90% for customers of utility Ameren.
  • The coronavirus crisis is slowing battery manufacturing in China.
  • The Tennessee Valley Authority contracts for 484 megawatts of solar and 50 MW of battery storage.
  • Dominion Energy plans a 100-MW solar project in Virginia to provide renewable energy for Facebook.
  • Consolidated Edison is working on a curbside EV charging pilot across New York City.

Michigan Energy Events

Please RSVP by Feb. 19 for a Feb. 21 tour of the Fremont Regional Digester in Fremont. The facility is the only anaerobic digester of its kind in Michigan and enerates 2.85 megawatts of renewable baseload electricity, enough to power 2,500 homes in Newaygo County.

Michigan State University’s Institute of Public Utilities is holding the 15th Annual Michigan Forum on Economic Regulatory Policy, a one-day conference that makes participants eligible for continuing education credits, on Feb. 21.

On Feb. 24 Michigan EIBC is holding a Networking Meeting at Phoenix Contact’s Ann Arbor office for a tour and discussion of e-mobility and technology. Please get tickets here.

The Michigan Energy Efficiency Contractors Association’s 6th Annual Banquet & Awards Celebration will be on March 12 at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing. Tickets are available here.

On July 21-23, 2020 PlugVolt will be hosting its next Battery Seminar in Plymouth, MI (USA), featuring an entire day of in-depth technical tutorials presented by renowned professors from several US universities on Day 1, followed by Days 2 and 3 with industry subject matter experts presenting on Automotive and Stationary Storage applications respectively. Attendees will also get an exclusive opportunity to tour A123 Systems’ new Novi, Michigan (USA) facility.

National Energy Events

The CLEANPOWER 2020 expo, organized by the American Wind Energy Association, will be in Denver from June 1 to 4, 2020. See registration options now.


 The United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service is seeking applications for its Rural Energy for America Program, which makes loan guarantees and grants available for renewable energy systems, energy efficiency, energy audits and more. The deadlines to apply for renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grants are Oct. 31, 2019, and March 31, 2020, while applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round. Find out more here.

The Michigan Energy Office’s Small Manufacturers Energy Waste Reduction Incentive Pilot is offering rebates of up to $15,000 per company for small manufacturers that can implement energy efficiency activities between Oct. 1, 2019 and July 31, 2020. There is a 100% minimum match requirement. Click here to learn more about eligibility and apply.