Sixth Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala honors advanced energy leaders

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018

Sixth Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala honors advanced energy leaders

EAST LANSING – Elected officials, businesses, and experts in Michigan’s advanced energy industry gathered Wednesday to celebrate Michigan’s growing advanced energy sector and those who are leading the sector’s growth. At the Sixth Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala, hosted by the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (Michigan EIBC), five individuals and companies were honored for their leadership in Michigan’s advanced energy sector. The event featured remarks from Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. (D-East Lansing) and a keynote address from Adrian Tuck, CEO of Tendril.

“Changes in policy, coupled with technology improvements and market forces made 2018 an important year for Michigan’s advanced energy industry,” said Liesl Eichler Clark, President of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council. “We congratulate this year’s award recipients for the critical work they have done to create jobs and spur investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency across Michigan.”

The event was made possible by its Gigawatt Sponsors, Power Home Solar & Roofing and Ranger Power as well as its Megawatt Level Sponsors, Consumers Energy, Cypress Creek Renewables, and DTE Energy.

“The advanced energy industry has a bright future with tonight’s featured companies leading the way forward,” said Adrian Tuck, CEO of Tendril. “Tendril looks forward to working with many of these companies to help redefine the energy industry, making it more responsive to customers’ needs through energy efficiency and demand management programs.”

This year’s honorees included:

Emerging Business of the Year – Power Home Solar & Roofing

Power Home Solar & Roofing, based in Mooresville, NC specializes in solar energy and roofing services. The company opened a headquarters in Michigan in 2017. Since then, Michigan has become Power Home’s largest market of the five states it serves. In 2018, Power Home developed a partnership with the NFL’s Detroit Lions, as the company installed solar panels on the parking deck of Ford Field and at the team’s training facility in Allen Park.

“Since entering Michigan in 2017, we have made Michigan our largest market. Given how much we’ve invested here, we’re very proud to be recognized as the ‘Emerging Business of the Year’ by Michigan EIBC,” said Jayson Waller, CEO of Power Home Solar & Roofing. “We’re excited by the Michigan market and are committed to continuing to be at the forefront of expanding the use of advanced energy in Michigan moving forward.”

Project of the Year – Peak Power Load Management at Hemlock Semiconductor

Hemlock Semiconductor is a globally recognized supplier of polysilicon to the semiconductor and solar energy electronics market. The manufacture of polysilicon requires significant amounts of energy. Participating in the 2018 Peak Power Program in partnership with Consumers Energy, Hemlock Semiconductor shifted a portion of polysilicon production to “off-peak” hours on nights and weekends. This reduced the company’s energy costs associated with the production of polysilicon and is saving approximately $300,000 per month, while providing a service to the broader electric grid.

“We hope that our story helps other industrial consumers to become more sophisticated in their own electricity usage in an effort to help advance the priorities of Michigan’s advanced energy economy,” said Mark Bassett, Chairman and CEO Hemlock Semiconductor Operations.

Business of the Year & Employer of the Year– Harvest Energy Solutions

Founded and headquartered in Jackson, Michigan, Harvest Energy Solutions is a turnkey sales, design, construction, and service solar energy business specializing in rural residential, agricultural, and commercial energy solutions. Harvest Energy Solutions has completed more than 500 installations. Harvest designs and manufacturers solar racking solutions in Jackson, including ground mounts, roof mounts, and custom carport designs. In the past year, Harvest has increased its workforce by about 20 percent, adding personnel in all divisions from sales and marketing to construction and service. Harvest Energy strives to create a great work environment for employees, including providing education and training opportunities.

“We started in this industry in Michigan focused on bringing solar to farmers and agricultural properties. Today, we’ve expanded to new sectors and locations and a lot of our success has really played out in 2018. That’s why we’re so proud to be named ‘Business of the Year’ by Michigan EIBC,” said Mark Olinyk, President and CEO of Harvest Energy Solutions.

“It means a lot to us to be named ‘Employer of the Year.’ At Harvest we understand the importance of the TEAM; the success of any company depends on it.  We work diligently to improve our culture, internal communication, and opportunities so we can continue to grow, be healthy, and have fun,” said Robert Miller, Vice President of Operations for Harvest Energy Solutions.  

Public Official of the Year– Jim Carruthers, Mayor of Traverse City

In his second term as mayor of Traverse City, Jim Carruthers has a long history of supporting advanced energy. As a private citizen, Carruthers helped advocate for Traverse City Light & Power to become Michigan’s first municipal electric utility to construct a wind turbine. In 2016, under his leadership, Traverse City committed to powering all city operations using renewable energy by 2020. In August 2018, Traverse City Light & Power became the first utility company in Michigan to adopt a 100 percent community-wide renewable energy goal, which Carruthers played a major role in getting approved.

“I was thrilled and surprised to be recognized by Michigan EIBC. I’ve always embraced the old adage, ‘think globally while acting locally’ to support our clean energy future,” said Traverse City Mayor Jim Carruthers. “Climate Change is real and mayors working toward a clean energy future can only help in the reduction of the harmful affects we are seeing with the more powerful storms and fires across this great country. Renewable energy is our future and we need to act now.”

Energy Innovators Hall of Fame Inductee – Patricia L. Birkholz

The late Republican state Senator Patty Birkholz was a champion for the advanced energy industry and Michigan’s natural resources. During her five terms in the Michigan Legislature, she worked on numerous initiatives that have shaped Michigan’s advanced energy industry. Patty was lead sponsor on the 2008 energy legislation, advocating for Michigan’s first Renewable Portfolio Standard. She also supported Michigan’s first energy efficiency standard as well as worked on Michigan’s robust and successful net metering program. In May 2018, Sen. Birkholz passed away, leaving a lasting legacy that will continue to shape the advanced energy industry in Michigan for years to come.