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Local and state leaders unite to celebrate $156 million investment to increase access to solar energy for low-income families

Communities rally behind solar investment helping lower costs for families and increase renewable energy access

Local and state leaders from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), Michigan Infrastructure Office (MIO), City of Detroit, and community organizations are celebrating a historic $156 million investment in solar energy by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the State of Michigan to accelerate the deployment of community and rooftop solar for thousands of low-income households across the state. 

Stakeholders gathered Thursday at the Manistique Community Tree House Center in the Jefferson-Chalmers Business District to mark the occasion.

This initiative, known as the Michigan Solar for All (MISFA) program, aims to reduce utility costs for families, foster job creation, and strengthen Michigan’s advanced clean energy sector — all while moving the state toward its MI Healthy Climate Plan goals. The MISFA program is expected to make a substantial impact by providing low-income households across Michigan with access to affordable renewable energy and enabling home repairs, reducing their energy bills by up to 20%. This funding was made available by the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund in President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and marks a significant step towards a more equitable clean energy future for Michigan.

“As we strive towards a more sustainable future, initiatives like MI Solar for All play a crucial role in our efforts to combat climate change and promote renewable energy,” said EGLE Director Phil Roos. “By providing equitable access to solar energy, we are not only taking steps to implement the MI Healthy Climate Plan, the state’s climate action roadmap, but making homes more comfortable, empowering residents and communities, and fostering local economic opportunity. ”

“I have seen firsthand the transformative impact that solar energy can have on communities,” said Tammy Black, CEO of Communities Power and a Jefferson-Chalmers resident. “The MISFA program is more than just an energy program; it’s a catalyst for positive change. By harnessing the power of the sun, we can revitalize neighborhoods, create opportunities for local businesses, and empower residents to take control of their energy future.”

“The $156 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency represents a major step forward in Michigan’s renewable energy efforts,” said Zachary Kolodin, chief infrastructure officer and director of the Michigan Infrastructure Office. “This funding, a result of President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, will enable us to expand renewable infrastructure and drive economic growth. Through this initiative, we’re not only making solar energy more accessible to low-income households but also fueling job creation and strengthening our clean energy sector.”

This initiative exhibits the state’s commitment to advancing clean energy solutions and promoting economic equity. Michigan has been leading the Midwest in the clean energy sector, boasting nearly 124,000 clean energy workers. According to the 2023 Clean Jobs America Report, clean energy businesses in Michigan added over 5,400 workers in 2022, growing at almost twice the rate of the overall economy. By continuing to prioritize renewable energy initiatives like MISFA, Michigan is boosting job creation, encouraging new clean technologies, and maintaining the state’s leadership in clean energy development nationwide. As a part of MISFA, resources will be dedicated to clean energy workforce development, empowering individuals with the skills needed to thrive in Michigan’s evolving energy landscape.

“MISFA is an exciting new initiative for our state that can greatly impact residents like those in my district here in Jefferson-Chalmers,” said state Sen. Stephanie Chang. “They have literally weathered many storms and understand all too well how important resiliency and sustainability is for the future of our neighborhoods. Michigan will continue to be a leader in clean energy, and it is critical that we continue to support vulnerable neighborhoods through programs like MISFA.”

“The MISFA program represents a significant step towards achieving energy equity and Environmental Justice in our communities,” said Michigan House Speaker Joe Tate, 10th House District. “By expanding access to solar energy, we are not only creating jobs and stimulating economic development but also addressing longstanding disparities in access to clean energy resources. This initiative demonstrates our commitment to building a more inclusive and sustainable energy future for all Michiganders.”

As Michigan continues to lead the charge in clean energy innovation, the MISFA program serves as a testament to the state’s vision for a brighter, more sustainable future. The program will be rolled out over the course of the next year, with stakeholder engagement expected to be announced in the coming months. 

“Jefferson East, Inc., is proud to support the MISFA program as part of our commitment to community revitalization and sustainability,” said CEO Josh Elling.By investing in solar energy infrastructure, we are not only reducing energy costs for residents and businesses but also revitalizing our communities and making them better able to withstand the challenges of climate change. Together, we can build a more resilient and prosperous community that benefits all who call it home.”

To receive MISFA updates, please sign up via the MI Solar for All Interest Form.

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