Does Clean Energy Make Sense for Business? – The Highlights

Renewable energy generation is paramount to curbing greenhouse gas emissions and creating a more diverse, sustainable and dependable energy future.  On Wednesday August 15th, The Knickerbocker was filled with Grand Rapids stakeholders eager to learn about the possibilities of clean energy generation in our pure Michigan.  Speakers presented their perspective on the solution. Despite Michigan being a northern state, there is vast potential for renewable energy generation, and yes, even solar.

Prasad Gullapalli from Srienergy, Platinum Sponsor of the Grand Rapids 2030 District, presented on successful case studies of solar projected, from Michigan to Puerto Rico. Gullapalli advises that solar will work for your organization, the trick is to look deeper as to how it’s best suited for your circumstances. He outlined three financial alternatives for interested owners: a lease, Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), or Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Gullapalli explained how bundled solar investment can significantly shorten the payback. Srienergy’s no cost feasibility studies are the first step to get prescriptive questions answered.

Gullapalli points out that distributed solar energy generation is not only a solution for building stock, but also the mobility solution through distributed vehicle charging stations. See his presentation on the GR 2030 Educational Library.

Michaela Preskill from E2, a nonpartisan group which advocate for policies that are “good for the economy and good for the environment” shared the group’s research on clean energy jobs in the midwest. According to Preskill, Michigan could be a champion and leader for diversified renewable energy generation with supportive legislation and policy. 

E2 has created interesting and useful interactive maps that demonstrate the strength, magnitude, and potential of the clean energy economy in the state of Michigan. E2’s research was fascinating data-based insight into the needed future steps.

GR2030 Visionary Supporter, Jordan Holbrook from Consumer Energy Substation Planning and Reliability explained how distributed solar generation looks from the utility perspective. There are four categories and most customers fall within Category 1 or 2.  

Holbrook outlined the Generator Interconnection Application for Consumers Energy customers. Category 1 customers generate an aggregated 20 kW or less are eligible for true net metering. Customers who generate between 20 kW and 150 kW are considered Category 2 and receive modified net metering. Both categories may opt for interconnection only to offset usage. True net metering accounts for the full retail price, whereas modified net metering offers a lesser value per Kwh as it accounts for the supplier component of the full retail price. Learn more about net metering eligibility.

The event wrapped up after substantial questions and answers around the future of renewable generation in Michigan, the current incentives available for owners to make a business case for solar, and how to advocate for distributed generation.  

Thank you E2 for sponsoring the GR2030 August Zero Net Carbon Series event!

*This program is supported by Consumers Energy, DTE Energy, Wege Foundation and the Michigan Energy Office/Michigan Agency for Energy & U.S. Department of Energy

Written by Gillian Giem, GR2030 Staff