Solar Property Tax Legislation, Michigan EIBC 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:

State Lawmakers Pass Legislation to Ease Property Taxes on Rooftop Solar

  The Michigan Senate on Oct. 29 unanimously approved legislation that would prevent the installation of rooftop solar installations from causing property tax assessments to jump for businesses and homeowners. The House passed the legislation earlier this year, so the bills now go to Gov. Whitmer to sign.

“These new laws will fix the confusing patchwork of taxation across the state when it comes to rooftop solar so more Michigan families and businesses can take advantage of the cost-saving potential of generating their own renewable energy,” Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman said in a press release. The new laws would ensure that solar panels are treated in the same manner as a new energy-efficient furnace or hot water heater, only increasing the property value of a home when the home is sold. 

Similar legislation was passed by both chambers last year, but Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed the bills on December 28, 2018.

The bill numbers are Senate Bill 047 (introduced by Sen. Barrett) and House Bills 4465 (introduced by Rep. Rabhi) and 4069 (introduced by Rep. Kahle).    

Michigan EIBC and Its Member Companies In The News

  Michigan EIBC and its members have been making a lot of news lately. In case you missed any of these articles, here is a roundup of how the Michigan advanced energy community has been putting out its message:

-When legislation to put Michigan back on the right track to support distributed generation was introduced next week, Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman was quoted in a Crain’s Detroit Business article detailing the legislation. Separately, Crain’s published Dr. Sherman’s commentary on the bills.

-An article from Greentech Media extensively quoted Dr. Sherman on the Michigan Public Service Commission’s MI Power Grid initiative to enable the transition to a more modern, distributed, customer-centric electricity grid. She was also quoted in news reports on MI Power Grid from the Associated Press.

-Mark Hagerty of Michigan EIBC member Michigan Solar Solutions and Brandon Knight of Michigan EIBC member Distributed Power both talked to Curbed Detroit about the exciting opportunities for rooftop solar in underserved communities in Detroit.

-In Utility Dive, Dr. Sherman explored how Michigan corporations want to invest in renewable energy, what is standing in the way and how to change the situation.

-An article by Dr. Sherman in Midwest Energy News used the example of DTE’s integrated resource plan to explain the importance of utilities and advanced energy industry working together and the rapid pace of innovation in the industry.

-Michigan EIBC members Honeywell and NRStor partnered on an initiative combining artificial intelligence and battery storage for C&I customers.

-Michigan EIBC member Volta Power Systems opened a 15,000-square-foot manufacturing facility.

-Crain’s Detroit Business named Michigan EIBC member Plunkett Cooney one of 2019’s Cool Places To Work in Michigan.  




Lawmakers Hear Case for Energy Storage at IEI Event

  A packed room of Michigan legislative staff, legislators and others learned about how to improve state policies for energy storage at the Institute of Energy Innovation’s Energy Storage 101 Lunch & Learn event at the House Office Building in Lansing on Oct. 22.

The attendees included nearly 50 legislators and legislative staff. The panel, moderated by Michigan EIBC VP of Policy Cory Connolly, presented insights across an array of energy storage technologies such as flywheels, lithium ion batteries, pumped hydro and compressed air storage. They also highlighted the different market cases and applications for storage, such as behind-the-meter projects in homes and at businesses, stand alone energy storage projects that provide services on the distribution or transmission grid and solutions that help replace or supplement power generation, particularly hybrid systems that leverage storage plus solar or wind. The panelists were Daren Griffith from Michigan EIBC member POWERHOME Solar, Kevin O’Connell from Michigan EIBC member Michigan CAT and Katherine Peretick from Michigan EIBC member NRStor.

The next Lunch & Learn event, which will focus on big data and smart buildings, will take place at the House Office Building on Dec. 3.    

Keith Winn of Catalyst Partners Recognized for Achievement in Sustainability

Keith Winn of Michigan EIBC member Catalyst Partners won the Sustainable Business Hall of Fame Award at West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum’s Sixth Annual Triple Bottom Line Bash on October 16 in Grand Rapids. 

The Sustainable Business Hall of Fame is a lifetime achievement award that recognizes extraordinary contributions to the growth of sustainable business in the West Michigan area over the course of a career. Keith was a founding member of the United States Green Building Council and is a nationally renowned leader in green building design, LEED™ certification and energy efficiency services. Congratulations Keith!  


Michigan Energy News

  • Rep. Bronna Kahle (R-Adrian) says of the recently passed solar property tax legislation that families and small businesses that invest in solar panels “should not be punished with higher property taxes” for “looking for ways to help the environment and lower their utility bills.”
  • Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) Commissioner Dan Scripps says that the goal of MI Power Grid is action and execution, not talk.
  • The bill to lift the cap on distributed generation, part of the Powering Michigan Forward package, will give Upper Peninsula residential, commercial and industrial customers more access to clean and affordable energy options, according to bill sponsor Rep. Greg Markkanen (R-Hancock).
  • Michigan EIBC is one of more than 70 associations that signed a letter to U.S. Congress from the Solar Energy Industries Association, urging lawmakers to extend the solar investment tax credits.
  • Consumers Energy CEO Patti Poppe is on a public awareness campaign, calling on customers to join the utility’s energy efficiency and renewable energy plans.
  • Consumers Energy is looking into the benefits of aggregated residential battery storage through three pilot projects.
  • The MPSC approves Michigan Energy Assistance Program grants for low-income customers.
  • A craft cidery in southwest Michigan installs a 78-kW solar array.

National Energy News

  • U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) proposes a plan to move toward an all-electric vehicle fleet by 2040.
  • 11 attorneys general – including Michigan’s – join together to ask the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to “advance, not impede” state clean energy policies.
  • A Harvard University analysis finds that installing more wind turbines in the Upper Midwest and more solar panels in the Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic regions would lead to huge health benefits.
  • A Union of Concerned Scientists study debunks the idea that higher levels of wind and solar resources in California have led to increased pollution by causing natural gas plants to cycle up and down more frequently.
  • A new survey finds a generational divide on clean energy, with younger Americans more likely than their parents to support paying more for 100% clean electricity.
  • Massachusetts officials say that the offshore wind projects they have selected will be able to generate around 12% of the state’s annual electricity demand.

Michigan Energy Events

The Midwest Cogeneration Association’s Nov. 8 workshop in Ann Arbor will feature MPSC Commissioner Dan Scripps speaking on the MI Power Grid initiative, as well as tours of the combined heat and power plants at Washtenaw Community College and Eastern Michigan University. Go here to sign up.

Michigan Interfaith Power & Light’s 2019 Sustainability Conference features several environmental topics. It is being held Nov. 8 at Marygrove College in Detroit. Registration is open now.

Michigan EIBC Board Member and Lean & Green Michigan CEO Bali Kumar will speak at the Energy and Environment townhall on Nov. 12 at Walsh College Auditorium in Troy, Mich.

Michigan EIBC’s Michigan Energy Innovators Gala will be held Nov. 14 in East Lansing, featuring keynote speaker Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Tickets are sold out, but some seats may open up. Please email Nicole Forward at to get your name put on the waiting list.

On Dec. 3, Michigan EIBC will hold its next Energy 101 session at the Michigan House Office Building. The topic is Big Data and Smart Buildings, and registration is coming soon. Note that this meeting is for Michigan EIBC members, state legislators and legislative staff only.      

National Energy Events

Energy Storage North America’s 2019 Conference & Expo is in San Diego from Nov. 5 to 7.

The U.S. Commercial Service has organized the Clean Energy and Zero Emission Vehicle Technologies Trade Mission to Mexico from Nov. 18 to 23. This one-week trip for U.S. companies involves one-on-one meetings, conferences, roundtables, a networking reception and OEM and tier 1 plant visits with the automotive and clean energy industry in Mexico. Contact U.S. Commercial Service Mexico Energy Industry Specialist Claudia Salgado at The U.S. Commercial Service is also offering free consultancies for Michigan EIBC members interested in these business sectors in Mexico.

EUCI’s The Electric Vehicle-Utility Industry Nexus: Charging Forward conference is in Denver, Colo., on Dec. 2 to 3 and counts as a continuing education course. Sign up here. Infocast’s Wind Power Finance & Investment Summit is in San Diego from Feb. 4 to Feb. 6, 2020.


  On Oct. 22, Rapid River Schools issued an RFP for performance contracting for a school district-wide energy conservation program, including lighting and HVAC control and upgrade measures. Proposals are due Nov. 4.

Bentley Community Schools in Genesee County is requesting proposals for an energy service company to design, manage and implement a comprehensive turn-key energy saving capital improvements program. Bidding closes Oct. 21, 2019.

Orion Township in Oakland County has issued an RFP for a design build project to provide a 15.5-kW solar power system by Dec. 31, 2019. Potential bidders can view this RFP here.

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.