Unlocking Community Solar, Where to Add Power for Michigan 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:

At Legislative Committee Hearing, Michigan EIBC and Members Describe How to Unlock the Community Solar Market

On Oct. 27, Michigan EIBC members Liz Reddington from Pivot Energy and John Kinch from Michigan Energy Options, Michigan EIBC Director of Research and Policy Grace Michienzi and others testified before the House Energy Committee about HB 4715 and HB 4716, the community solar legislation that would, as Reddington said in her testimony, enable “a huge economic opportunity for Michigan.”

Michigan Energy Options is one of the few organizations that has been able to build a community solar project in the state due to the regulatory and legal barriers to doing so. Building the East Lansing Community Solar Park “wasn’t easy because Michigan’s existing laws make it difficult for communities to choose community solar and because at that time, there were few previous models anywhere because community solar was just taking off,” Kinch said in his testimony. “Now, we have models to look at from all over the country, but we still have a legislative framework that makes it nearly impossible for community solar to grow in Michigan.”

Pivot Energy was a partner on the East Lansing Community Solar Park and also works on community solar projects in other states. “More than two-thirds of Americans are not able to access onsite solar. Community solar will significantly expand consumer choice and access for Michiganders, particularly renters and those unable to install rooftop solar,” Reddington said.

“Save for a few projects that required incredible effort and collaboration from businesses, most projects billed as community solar in Michigan aren’t what we would consider community solar,” Michienzi said in her testimony.

HB 4715 and HB 4716, introduced by Reps. Michele Hoitenga (R-Manton) and Rachel Hood (D-Grand Rapids), would fix these problems and “unlock the community solar market in Michigan” by allowing for third-party ownership, letting subscribers of community solar projects receive bill credits and allowing communities and the market to decide how much community solar is built and where, Michienzi explained in her testimony.

Also testifying were representatives of the Michigan Community Solar Alliance (of which Michigan EIBC is a member), the Coalition for Community Solar Access, the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum and students from Michigan Technological University.  




ITC Hosting Capacity Study Shows Where in Michigan Has the Best Potential for More Power

The recent hosting capacity study published by Michigan EIBC member ITC shows the specific points on the grid in different regions of Michigan where the biggest amounts of new power can be injected before major system upgrades would be required.

Of the 225 points of interconnection that ITC examined in the study, the one with the most potential power injection is the Argenta 345-kV point, just north of Kalamazoo, with 3,500 MW in capacity identified in the study. Close behind it was the Palisades 345-kV point near the Palisades nuclear power plant, with 3,458 MW.

Both of these interconnection points are in southwestern Michigan, part of the South region, one of 7 geographic regions of the state that ITC studied. Other interconnection points with high potential for power injection include the Majestic 345-kV point northwest of Ann Arbor, at 2,500 MW, and the Thetford 345-kV point north of Flint, at 2,900 MW.

ITC also looked at each region based on the capability of the grid in that region to accommodate a targeted level of power and the associated major system upgrades required to achieve that level. 

The study was requested by the MPSC. “Thousands of new megawatts of new renewable energy are expected to be built over the next decade. The data will be used as part of the MPSC’s MI Power Grid initiative, a multiyear effort the agency launched in 2019 to help guide Michigan residents and businesses through rapid changes in the energy industry as it transitions away from large, centrally located power plants to clean, geographically diffuse sources of electricity generation,” the MPSC said in a statement announcing the study.  


Dr. Laura Sherman Appointed to ZETA Education Fund Board

The Zero Emission Transportation Association (ZETA) Education Fund has appointed Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman to its board.

ZETA is a federal coalition focused on advocating for 100% EV sales by 2030. ZETA’s Education Fund is a nonprofit organization aimed at educating the public and policymakers about various topics related to EVs, such as advanced manufacturing, fleet electrification, sustainable critical mineral extraction, light-duty consumer incentives and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

“I am proud and excited to serve on the ZETA Education Fund Board to help leverage Michigan’s ingenuity and innovation to advance the transportation electrification policies that will create jobs, support new supply chains, and spur economic development across the country and globe,” Dr. Sherman said in a statement from ZETA announcing the appointment. “As the automotive capital of the world, the path to 100% vehicle electrification runs through Michigan. Luckily, Michigan companies and local governments are embracing and leading the way toward our automated, connected, electrified, and shared mobility future.”

Beverly Scott Associates, LLC CEO Beverly Scott and American Center for Mobility President and CEO Reuben Sarkar were also appointed to the board.   

Renewing Members


Apex Clean EnergyApex Clean Energy is an independent renewable energy company focused on developing utility-scale generation facilities. Based in Charlottesville, Virginia, Apex is building one of the nation’s largest, most diversified portfolios of renewable energy resources, capable of producing over 13,000 MW of clean energy. The company is currently exploring the feasibility of constructing more than 500 MW of generation in Michigan.  

D2 Solar LLCD2 Solar’s formation was motivated by a desire to improve social and environmental conditions through solar energy, and to help Michigan realize its solar potential. D2 operates a warehouse in Detroit that sells solar modules, and we also offer consulting to organizations who want to go solar.

We design and implement programs that reduce costs, protect people and the environment, and ensure the benefits of clean and efficient energy use reach those who need them most.
Elevate seeks to create a world in which everyone has clean and affordable heat, power, and water in their homes and communities — no matter who they are or where they live. Making the benefits and services of the clean energy economy accessible to everyone is how we fight climate change while supporting equity.
We want to work with everyone we can to help them reduce their energy costs and improve their quality of life — from homeowners, renters, and building owners, to nonprofit organizations, utilities, and municipalities. Our team builds strong connections in the places we work and delivers high-quality programs and services that contribute to healthy, thriving communities.

Enel Green Power North America
Enel Green Power is a leading owner and operator of renewable energy plants with a presence in 18 US states and one Canadian province. The company operates over 70 plants with a managed capacity of over 6 GW powered by hydro, wind, geothermal and solar energy.  


Michigan Energy News

  • In a spooky Halloween-themed video, Attorney General Dana Nessel asks for Michigan customers to report their experience with power outages.
  • Gov. Whitmer appoints Shanna Dreheim, policy research director at Michigan Municipal League, as Chairperson of the State Construction Code Commission, and Michigan Interfaith Power & Light Executive Director Leah Wiste to the Utility Consumer Participation Board.
  • A brownout at pump stations amidst power outages this July contributed to the flooding in Detroit.
  • Construction will begin in spring 2023 on the 150-MW Gemstone Solar Project, being built by Wolverine Power Cooperative to sell power to Cherryland Electric Cooperative.
  • The federal Weatherization Assistance Program reduces energy costs by more than $280 a year on average for 1,300 low-income Michigan families, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch, the largest egg producer in Michigan, completes a 1.8-MW solar array at its facility in Saranac.

National Energy News

  • U.S. solar installation growth this year is “breathtaking and persistent,” Canary Media’s Eric Wesoff writes.
  • Honeywell plans to work with Duke Energy on a test of a flow battery that could provide 12 hours of storage.
  • General Motors says it is “on target” with its goal to launch 30 new EV models by 2025.
  • A bill in Wisconsin looks to end that state’s position as the only state where third-party solar ownership has not been been possible
  • For the first time, New York state cites a 2019 law limiting greenhouse gas emissions to block the construction of two natural gas-fired power plants.


Job Board

We are debuting a new section of the newsletter for Michigan EIBC members to post job openings in advanced energy fields. 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 matt@mieibc.org. Please include in the email a specific end date for the job posting.

Energy Sciences

Position: Senior Retro-Commissioning Engineer, Metro Detroit

“As a senior retro-commissioning engineer with Energy Sciences, you will join our team of degreed and licensed engineers, scientists, and energy efficiency professionals to meet the energy use challenges of commercial and industrial facilities. We’re looking for experienced and talented technical team members to assist our clients, from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, in making their building systems work, identifying energy-savings opportunities, reducing waste, and saving operating cost. You will play a key role in a growing company that is dedicated to driving our vision of a sustainable and socially responsible energy future, working in an exciting, collaborative environment.”

Foresight Management

Positions: Senior Project Manager, Sales Coordinator, Business Development Rep

Foresight is hiring for these and other positions. Visit the Careers page here.  

Inovateus Solar

Positions: Construction Manager, Business Development Manager, Design Engineer, South Bend, IN

Inovateus Solar is hiring for several positions in South Bend. Check out the company’s LinkedIn page for more information.

NOVI Energy

Position: Project Engineer, Novi, MI

NOVI Energy is growing, and they need your help. This month, they announced a joint venture with Osaka Gas USA to develop over 1000 MW of solar power generation facilities, enough solar and storage to power more than 150,000 homes with clean, affordable energy while creating good-paying jobs. This is one of several exciting projects NOVI Energy is developing! Learn more about their company and available Project Engineer positions. See open positions here.  

Michigan and National Energy Events

The Distributed Wind Energy Association’s DIstributed Wind 2021 Conference and Lobby Day in Arlington, Va., has been postponed to Nov. 15-18. Tickets can be purchased for in-person attendance or virtual attendance

The U.S. Energy Storage Association Annual Conference & Expo (#ESACon21) will convene December 1-3 in Phoenix to bring together buyers, sellers, investors, and leaders in the energy storage industry for an event focused on driving deals and business in the energy storage industry. The #ESACon21 is a must attend for anyone looking to expand their business, invest in, or develop partnerships in the energy storage industry. Michigan EIBC members can register using code MIEIBC2021 for a 5% discount off nonmember passes.  Learn more here.

Gov. Whitmer created the Council on Climate Solutions as an advisory body to help formulate and implement the MI Healthy Climate Plan. The council is holding a series of meetings throughout the year on various topics related to cutting Michigan’s CO2 emissions and recommending solutions for communities disproportionately affected by climate change. Go to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy Office of Climate and Energy website to learn how to join these meetings. 


On Nov. 3 Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC) team and DTE Energy are holding a virtual event that is the first of a two-part program that will prepare renewable energy suppliers for a buyer-supplier matchmaking event to be held in-person in early 2022. Register here.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is accepting proposals for Rural Development Fund Grants. Proposals are due on Nov. 18. The U.S. Department of Energy has an opportunity for $105 million in funding for small businesses that are working to deploy clean energy technologies. “This funding opportunity is open to small businesses that have previously received SBIR or STTR grants to provide additional opportunities to compete for funding to develop working prototypes of their discoveries,” according to the DOE.

The Lansing Board of Water and Light has put out a Request for Information for Energy Storage. Responses are due Nov. 30More information here.

Michigan EIBC member Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University is now accepting applications for its C3 Accelerator. Apply here by Jan. 10, 2022. C3 is a growth stage Accelerator with up to $1.6M in funding in the form of grants, investments, and services to support the product development and scaling of Cleantech, Climatech, and Circular Economy technologies.

The Community Collaboration on Climate Change (C4) is seeking a full-time contract position to provide coordination of C4 leadership, organizational representatives, Grand Rapids residents, and the program deliverables.

State of Michigan DNR is going big in solar with projects in the ground, others in development and additional ones being planned. DNR has released a Request for Proposal for Prequalification Program for Renewable Energy PPAs: www.michigan.gov/sigmavss. Use “Guess Access” to get the RFP. A previous round of pre-qualifications netted solar companies that then were able to bid on a portfolio of DNR solar projects in Southwest Michigan. Another portfolio in the Northern Region is in the works for later this year. Only companies who pre-qualify can bid on future DNR solar projects. Please direct all correspondence to the Solicitation Manager, Laura Gyorkos at gyorkosL@michigan.gov.
 The Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s PlanetM Testing Grant gives mobility companies the opportunity to access testing facilities around the state, including Mcity at the University of Michigan. Apply here.

The Detroit 2030 District is a free program that challenges Detroit building owners and managers to reduce wasted energy. Those that achieve the greatest reductions from the prior-year baseline will be recognized at the first annual Detroit Energy Challenge Award Ceremony in 2021. Visit 2030districts.org/Detroit to find out more information including how a building can apply.