Partnering to Reduce Energy Burden: A Michigan Community Solar and Weatherization Pilot

Anna Adamsson | Clean Energy States Alliance

Low-income households in Michigan spend an average of 15 percent of their income on energy costs, which is classified as a severe energy burden.

In an effort to reduce the energy burden on low-income Michiganders, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) collaborated with local community action agencies and utilities to develop three separate community solar pilot programs. Residents that participated in the pilots enrolled in community solar programs and received free weatherization services. By pairing community solar with weatherization, participants in this pilot experienced 70 percent total savings.

This case study illustrates how the program partners developed each pilot, what they learned, and what advice they would give to those developing future programs. It profiles EGLE’s efforts and highlights lessons learned. Michigan’s work can serve as a model for other state agencies and community partners seeking to reduce the energy burden for low-income communities.

This case study was developed as part of the Clean Energy States Alliance’s Solar with Justice: Connecting States and Communities project. The Solar with Justice project aims to bring together state energy agencies (SEAs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) developing solar for environmental justice communities to create opportunities for dialogue and collaboration. This case study is the second of six case studies that will be published by CESA under the Solar with Justice project, highlighting models of collaboration between CBOs and SEAs on solar for environmental justice communities.

This case study is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy under the Solar Energy Technologies Office Award Number DE-EE0009360. Under this project, known as Solar with Justice, CESA is working in conjunction with academic and nonprofit partners to understand and improve how state energy agencies and community-based organizations collaborate on solar.

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Date: June 14, 2023
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