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The Michigan Energy Fair has a long history of bringing information to homeowners, businesses and governments. This video is from the 2009 Michigan Energy Fair which was held in Onekama, Michigan.

Taxation of Solar Systems

James J. Carter, February 25, 2016

tax assessment

The Michigan Tax Tribunal has held that a solar system is personal property, not real property, and therefore should be taxed as personal property. Schmitt v. Charleston Township, decided December 21, 2012. This case was not appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals, and therefore is the current law for Michigan.

Since homeowners are not taxed on their personal property, no homeowner's tax assessment should increase as a result of installing a solar system. Commercial and industrial taxpayers will be taxed in the same manner they are taxed on other business personal property. There are many exceptions for business personal property.

Local tax assessors generally do not have a legal background. They rely on their understanding of what is real property, and for years they have applied the common law doctrine that tangible movable property which becomes attached to the real estate, with the intention that it stay attached, is considered a fixture and is therefore real estate and assessable (for example, a deck). The Tax Tribunal rejected the argument that the common law (law from judicial decisions) applied and based their decision on a Michigan statute that defined a solar photovoltaic system as personal property. The common law has been changed many times by statute, and that happened in this case.

A real property owner, either residential, commercial or industrial, should appeal any increase in assessment that is based on a solar installation.


Letter: Lawmakers out of touch on energy policy

Reprinted from Battle Creek Equirer, Letter to the Editor, February 9 2016



Our U.S. Congress just passed an energy bill using the tools and bipartisan actions that they were elected for. A little discussed aspect of the bill was the energy compromise.

Credit goes to congressional democrats and House Speaker Paul Ryan. They unlocked a 40-year-old law preventing the export of oil to other countries and set the stage for independence in the USA by extending the renewable tax credits for five more years.

Yet the Republican majority in Lansing is still doing the bidding of our two utility monopolies in Michigan. How out of touch can our legislators be?

Many of you have seen the commercials from Sens. Nofs and Proos asking us to bail out Consumers Energy and DTE Energy Co. by helping them build new energy facilities. These commercials are misleading and funded by Citizens for Michigan’s Energy Coalition, a political action committee to which Consumers and DTE gave more than $500,000 through September.

That does not include the money that utility PACS have given to most of the Senate and House legislators developing Michigan’s Energy Policy. So much for transparency.

These bills are a direct affront to the rapidly growing solar energy industry in Michigan. These entrepreneurs have not made the mistakes of dirty coal plants that have to be shut down. They offer residents and businesses the opportunity to buy clean renewable energy systems at a price equal to or lower than utilities can deliver.

Consumers and DTE are asking residents and businesses to buy a solar system and then give all the power back to the utility so they can sell it back to you at a profit.

I urge you to call or write your senator or representative to voice your opinion before it’s too late. This could be a devastating gift to Michigan residents by some irresponsible legislators!

Allan O’Shea





(Photo: Rod Sanford | Lansing State Jour, Rod Sanford | Lansing State Jour)

Michigan Gets First PACE Refinanced Energy Efficiency Project

February 15, 2016

Powers Distributing, a beer distributor in Orion Township, Mich., teamed up with Newman Consulting Group (NCG), Lean & Green Michigan, and Michigan Solar Solutions to complete Michigan’s first refinanced Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) project.

The groundbreaking project opens the door for additional energy efficiency financing in Orion Township and elsewhere. Project highlights include:

  • First PACE project in Oakland County
  • First ‘refinance’ PACE project in Michigan
  • First beer distributor in U.S. to finance energy efficiency with PACE

“Clean, renewable energy has evolved from being just a good idea to being proven business strategy,” said Gary Thompson, Powers’ chief operating officer. Thompson and Powers’ staff welcomed Orion Township officials and environmental professionals to their Orion Township headquarters on Jan. 20 to celebrate the announcement. Guests learned about the company’s ongoing environmental efforts while gaining insight into how other businesses can use PACE financing.

logo-msueMSU Extenstion has powered with GLREA to produce the Powering Michigan Agriculture with Renewable Energy Conference during ANR week at MSU. If you are interested in learning about ways to more cost-effectively provide energy on your farm this is a "must attend" event!

Have you considered harnesing natural energy on  your farm including wind, sun, water or energy crops? During this day-long program, farmers will have the opportunity to learn more about various renewable energy technologies which are available to Michigan farmers. Presentation will help farmers better understand wind, solar, biomass, anaerobic digestion and geothermal technologies.

Just what are these technologies and how can you cost effectively apply them on your farm? What are the pros and cons of each technology?

You can get more information on MSU's website: http://events.anr.msu.edu/event.cfm?folder=poweringmiag



By Douglas Elbinger, Energy Systems Analyst, Greenlancer

According to current energy data, commercial and industrial buildings use about 60% of the energy generated in the US. About a third of this energy, especially in older buildings, is wasted due to inefficiency. But how do we know which third, and what can we do about it?


The answer is plenty! And with new financing available in Michigan, it will be even easier. PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) helps commercial, industrial and multi-family property owners implement energy efficiency projects, eliminate waste and save money using innovative financing options.

By Tracy Samilton • Nov 2, 2015

From Michigan Radio


windturbines5A study by Stanford University professor Marc Jacobson says every state in the U.S. could get 100% of its energy from renewable sources by the year 2050 – and save money in the process.

In Michigan, most of that power would come from the state's most abundant renewable resource: wind. Forty percent of the state's electric needs could be met with on-shore wind power, according to Jacobson's analysis, and 31% from off-shore wind power.

Despite all our cloudy days, Jacobson says Michigan could get more than 26% of its electricity needs from solar energy. 

"Germany has a lot of solar installed," notes Jacobson, "and the solar resources there are worse than in Michigan."

Small amounts of electricity would come from Consumers Energy's existing Ludington Pumped Storage facility and from wave devices in the lakes.

Jacobson did the state-by-state analysis for simplicity's sake. In reality, states are connected to others in shared electric grids. 

He says the transmission lines in those grids would likely have to be strengthened in order for the idea to work.

And significant amounts of energy would have to be stored, since wind and solar can't be turned on in the same way as a coal-burning power plant. But he thinks plenty of power can be stored in vehicle batteries, for example, as well as soil and water. Demand for electricity could also be better controlled, with time-of-day pricing that encourages people to use less energy when there is less available.

Jacobson, a climate scientist, says the roadblocks to 100% renewables are political and social, not technical.

MPSC authorizes Consumers Energy Company to increase its electric rates by $130 million annually


  electric meter   November 19, 2015

     Contact: Judy Palnau, 517-284-8300

Agency: Michigan Public Service Commission

     LANSING, Mich. The Michigan Public Service Commission today authorized Consumers Energy Company to increase its electric rates by $130 million annually, effective Dec. 1.

Utility influence in Michigan energy debate includes $500,000 in political donations, 69 lobbyists

 utility smoke stacks
 Smoke stacks coming up from the T.B. Simon Power Plant on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing Monday, August 3, 2015. (Danielle Duval | MLive.com)
By Emily Lawler | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
on November 10, 2015 at 7:40 AM
Reprinted from MiLive