Our commitment to renewable energy is nothing new. In fact, we’ve been in the renewables game for more than a century thanks to our hydroelectric dams. In more recent years, we have been using our Clean Energy Plan as a road map for protecting Michigan’s environment while still providing energy for growth and adding new renewable options like wind farms and solar plants.

As we continue our journey to provide a Clean Energy future for all Michiganders, we want to ensure all customers have the opportunity to join us on the journey and participate in a way that is meaningful to them.

Which is why we are announcing a sweeping new proposal to expand access and improve affordability to our renewable energy offerings.

We plan to update our renewable offerings by cutting costs for community solar by more than 50% and enabling every customer to match 100% of their energy use with wind and solar. Landlords, businesses and other individuals would also be able to purchase renewable energy on someone else’s behalf.

“Consumers Energy is committed to a clean energy future for Michigan, and our renewable offerings will allow our neighbors who also want to protect the planet to join us in that mission,” said Lauren Snyder, vice president of customer experience. “We’re excited to break down barriers, expand accessibility, drastically lower costs and provide more options that accelerate new clean energy projects in our state.”

Highlights of our customer-powered proposal include:

  • Affordable community solar for all – We want to help any customer use solar energy, even if they may not be able to install rooftop solar. Our plan will allow us to cut the cost in half of our monthly Solar Gardens subscription and build more 100% Michigan-made community solar fields around the state, increasing accessibility, affordability and community engagement.
  • More options for large-scale solar and wind – We are seeking to remove the cap on our renewable energy programs to move forward with wind and solar projects as quickly as customers desire. Existing business and residential programs would be combined, giving residential customers a second option to sign up for renewable energy.
  • Green Giving – This new initiative will allow program subscribers to pass along clean energy benefits to others. This would be a path for businesses, nonprofits, charitable foundations or individuals to share program benefits with friends, family, tenants, staff or to help low-income neighbors in need. This offering has a dedicated focus to support those who receive this gift to enjoy the financial and environmental benefits from wind and solar projects that we develop.

“Consumers Energy is committed to providing solutions for the communities we serve. We want to make enrolling in our solutions accessible and affordable so all customers can benefit from our renewable energy programs,” Snyder said.

The proposal, which needs Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) approval next year, addresses customers’ desire for us to develop affordable, equitable clean energy for all. We will file our plans with the MPSC on Sept. 22.

Currently, we operate local community solar energy projects in Cadillac, at Western Michigan University and at Grand Valley State University through our Solar Gardens program and will match large businesses’ energy use with clean energy sources.