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MI Solar Communities

Community Shared Solar refers to a solar-electric system which provides power and/or financial benefits to subscribing members of a community. Subscribers receive credits on their electric bills for their portion of the energy generated by their allotted panels. These panels are located in an array off-site, meaning they are not physically on the subscriber's home or business. In this case, "community" is flexibly defined. It can be defined by location or merely a group of people who are connected via their electric utility.

Many people want the benefits of solar but for a variety of reasons cannot install solar panels where they live. They may rent, have a compromised or shaded roof, or experience other factors which limit their ability to benefit from renewable energy. At the same time, funding for renewable energy projects is supported by all ratepayers and tax payers, so increasing access to the benefits of these projects is a matter of equity.

Michigan currently does not have enabling legislation for community solar, so community solar programs in Michigan are developed and managed through a local electric utility.

Energy Services participated in the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Energy for Low-Income Community Accelerator (CELICA), and continues to work with partners to address low-income energy challenges and provide access to alternative clean energy.

Contact

Lisa Thomas
Thomasl17@Michigan.gov
517-282-6646

Webinars and Case Studies

March 27, 2024 11:00am-12:00pm

Catalyst Communities Webinar Series: Empowering Communities through Energy Storage & the MI Solar Access Program

Webinar Presentation 

Join us for an insightful webinar, where we will explore the benefits that energy storage offers to expand renewable energy projects. This webinar will provide an overview of energy storage technologies and how it can lead to cost savings, improve overall grid reliability, and enhance sustainability.  Additionally, we will examine how energy storage can be utilized during power outages, integrated with renewable energy, and help reduce peak demand.  Don't miss out on this opportunity to gain valuable information about the MI Solar Access Program and how local governments and businesses can qualify to submit an application to fund a Community Solar, Solarize, or Energy Storage System project.

July 12, 2023 

Webinar

Partnering to Reduce the Energy Burden Presentation

Michigan Case Study

October 17, 2023

Streamlining Solar Permitting and Benefits of SolSmart for Michigan’s Local Governments

Webinar Presentation Slides

Streamlining Solar Permitting and Benefits of SolSmart for Local Governments webinar will cover why Michigan’s municipalities should consider participation in SolSmart and SolarAPP+. The permitting and inspection process is one of the most important tools that local governments have at their disposal to encourage solar energy installations. Streamlining the permitting process can help communities and homeowners go solar more easily. For local governments considering solar energy adoption, come learn how you can become a SolSmart designee and streamline your permitting process through the SolarAPP+

November 1, 2023 1:00pm - 2:00pm

MI Solar Communities: How to Finance and Develop a Community Solar Project

Webinar Presentation Slides

This webinar aims to provide information for advocates, organizations and local governments on how to finance and develop a community solar project, as presented in the updated Michigan Solar Communities Guidebook. The Michigan Solar Communities Guidebook features content about resources, sustainable finance options and examples of community solar models that fit into Michigan's framework. You won't want to miss this opportunity to learn what deployment and investment in solar energy means in Michigan.

November 27, 2023 1:00pm - 2:00pm

MI Solar Communities: Reducing the Cost of Solar through Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association (GLREA) Solarize

Webinar Presentation Slides

Reducing the Cost of Solar through GLREA Solarize is a webinar that aims to provide information for local governments, businesses, non-profit organizations, or community groups on how to group buy residential solar, as presented in the updated Michigan Solar Communities Guidebook. GLREA Solarize is a program that supports communities effort to make going solar more affordable and easier to access for individuals. Come to the webinar and learn about the basics of Solarize, which will include topics such as the partnership between the community and an installer, community outreach and education, examples of Solarize models and more.

December 4, 2023 1:00pm - 2:00pm

MI Solar Communities: Utilization of Geothermal and Other Resources

Webinar Presentation Slides

This webinar provides information for advocates, organizations, and local governments about energy efficiency and geothermal energy, as presented in the updated Michigan Solar Communities Guidebook. This webinar is designed to provide attendees with an understanding of geothermal energy and how to access other related resources to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Join us to learn the basics of geothermal energy, participation in initiatives like NCSP, and case studies of community scale geothermal systems in Michigan.

Case Study

To collect program strategies for a potential community solar program for Energy Services through the technical assistance provided under the US Department of Energy’s National Community Solar Partnership

A Program Design Combining Community Solar and Weatherization for Manufactured Homes in Michigan Case Study

MI Solar Community Guidebook

Your guide to community solar in Michigan which includes resources, sustainable finance option, community solar model examples, and more!

GLREA Solar Guidebook 2024

Projects

CELICA Phase I: Co-op Utility Community Solar Project - In 2018 Energy Services partnered with Cherryland Cooperative and the Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency to implement a Low-Moderate Income Community Solar project for up to 50 low-income households in the Grand Traverse region. Each household underwent weatherization upgrades to their homes and were assigned nine (9) panel shares from which they will receive a monthly credit.

CELICA Phase II: Municipality Utility Community Solar Project - In 2019 Energy Services partnered with the Village of L'Anse and the Baraga-Houghton-Keweenaw Community Action Agency to implement a Low-Income Community Solar project for up to 25 low-income households in the Village of L'Anse. Each household underwent weatherization upgrades to their homes and purchased up to ten (10) panels. The panels are financed through on-bill financing and the subscribers can view the solar credit on their electric bill. 

CELICA Phase III: Investor Owned Utility Community Solar Project - In 2021 Energy Services partnered with Consumers Energy and the Capital Area Community Services to implement a Low-income Community Solar project for up to 50 low-income households in Lansing.

Awards

Additional Resources