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History of GLREA

  • The Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association (GLREA) was founded in 1991 to promote the manufacture, use and education of the general public in the practices of renewable energy in the Great Lakes region. GLREA and its members believe that a greater use of renewable energy will save money for homeowners, farmers and business and protect our environment. The adoption of renewable energy promotes economic development and creates new jobs, which is very important to the Michigan economy. GLREA works to establish policy that supports the free market expansion of renewable energy.

  • GLREA held its first Energy Fair in 1991 at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City. Energy Fairs were also held in 1992 and 1993 in Traverse City. In 1995, the Board of Directors moved GLREA organizational activities from Traverse City to Lansing, where the Energy Fair was held in 2000.

  • In 2000, GLREA became the Michigan partner for the U.S. Department of Energy's Million Solar Roofs Initiative in order to further the goal of identifying and removing barriers to the deployment of solar systems.

  • From 2005 to 2009, GLREA held the Michigan Energy Fair in Onekama at the Manistee County Fairgrounds. In 2009, over 4,500 attended the event with over 140 exhibitors and 150 volunteers. The 2010 Energy Fair was held in Novi and then the Fair was held in 2011 and 2012 in Luddington on the shore of Lake Michigan.

  • In recent years the Fair has been held in Mason, Michigan at the Ingham County Fair Grounds. In 2016, the Board of Directors decided to organize Regional Fairs, rather than just one statewide event, in order to reach more people throughout Michigan.

  • In addition to the Energy Fairs, GLREA has hosted other events, including the Michigan Wind Conference in 2009 in Detroit that brought together manufacturers, installers, academic and government agencies to discuss wind energy issues and the economic opportunities for Michigan. The event drew people from all over the globe with 27 exhibitors and over 1,500 people in attendance.

  • GLREA has organized regional seminars on renewable energy and energy efficiency in many locations throughout Michigan, to help homeowners and small businesses interested in purchasing solar or small wind system. These "Go Solar" education events were held from 2004-2010 in Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Oakland County and Kalamazoo.

  • GLREA has been an advocate for State and Local policies to encourage the greater use of renewable energy in Michigan. GLREA members helped pushed for the establishment of net metering and a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) in Michigan that was enacted into law with PA 295 in 2008.

  • GLREA continues to push for stronger renewable energy policies at State and Local Government. GLREA worked in coalition with other Michigan organizations in 2015 and 2016 to preserve net metering and increase the RPS from 10% to 15% with the enactment of Public Act 341 and 342. We are working to educate homeowners and business about this new energy law and how renewable energy can save money, drive economic development and protect the environment.

  • GLREA works on utility rate cases in front of the Public Service Commission (PSC). We represent the homeowners and business in Michigan that have purchased a renewable energy system, or are looking to do so in the near future and those businesses that install renewable energy systems.  We have been fighting to make sure that the new 'distributed energy tariff' is fair and truly represents the value of solar energy that is exported back to the grid. 

  • GLREA has a variety of activities and educational materials to utilize. The first is the Thursday Night Solar Story Events on Zoom, where we have presentations on many different renewable energy topics, have dynamic speakers, and recieve feedback from our members. To join these meetings, visit the Events page. Two of our educational resources are the Michigan Residential Smart Shopping Solar Guide and our Michigan Solar Communities Guidebook. Both can be found in the Learn About Solar Energy page on our website. 

  • In 2023, the Michigan Legislature enacted a series of new laws that were commonly referred to as the Clean Energy Future Plan of 2023. These laws include Public Act 229, Public Act 230, Public Act 231, Public Act 232, Public Act 233, Public Act 234, and Public Act 235. GLREA was a strong supporter of Public Act 235, which increased the Distributed Generation Cap from 1% to 10% of a utility’s average in-state peak load for the proceeding five calendar years. Public Act 235 also amends the Clean and Renewable Energy and Energy Waste Reduction Act (Public Act 295 of 2008). This Act increases the Renewable Energy Portfolio from 15% to 50% and the utilities must meet this new standard by 2030 and then to 60% by 2035 and each year thereafter.

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