Last week, Michigan Saves celebrated a decade of energy financing at our Toast to Ten event. During the virtual occasion, we welcomed special guests, including Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and Michigan Public Service Commission chair Dan Scripps, reflected on important milestones and expressed our gratitude to all the organizations and individuals who have supported us over the years. And — most importantly — we recommitted to our promise in creating a future in which race and income do not dictate who can access the benefits of clean energy.
Join us as we relive the Toast to Ten experience, do a little time traveling through Michigan Saves’ accomplishments and take a peek into the future.
The very beginning
Michigan’s energy landscape started its transformation when Public Act 295 was passed in 2008, driving the state’s utilities to prioritize energy waste reduction. The MPSC realized that while some Michiganders could access the financial and environmental benefits of clean energy, there were millions who could not. Michigan Saves was created to remove market barriers that prevented individuals and organizations from investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
“There were so many people who wanted to participate in the climate change fight,” said Conan Smith, president and CEO of the Michigan Environmental Council and former board president. “But they didn’t have a tangible tool to do that.”
Michigan Saves set out to be that tool. By 2010, we booked our first loan for a little more than $3,000 through the Home Energy Loan Program.
More than $270 million in energy financing and 28,000 served
“With more than $270 million in clean energy financing over the past 10 years,” Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist noted, Michigan Saves has “not only made a positive impact for a cleaner Michigan, but the work has supported job creation and contributed to a cleaner, more resilient energy landscape. Work that is key in helping us to reach our goal of making Michigan carbon neutral by 2050.”
In order to support Michigan’s carbon-neutral goal, we can’t stop. In fact, we’ve set our biggest goal yet: $1 billion in green energy financing by 2023.
With this goal in mind, we brought everyone to the table — utilities, lenders, the board — and began to “dig in in really deep and meaningful ways on some really substantive questions,” said current board president Paul Schutt. Some of those questions included how we can better serve the residents of Michigan and reflect our values as an organization.
That’s why we completely refreshed our look in November. The new brand aims to serve our customers more efficiently, better support our exclusive network of authorized contractors and double down on our commitment to accessibility.
Over the past 10 years, Michigan Saves has made energy efficiency and clean energy accessible for thousands of Michiganders. But even as we recognize that accomplishment, our work is nowhere near done. We must accelerate our pace and do more to ensure our services are available to all Michiganders. Energy efficiency and renewable energy are powerful tools that can slow the climate crisis, reduce the cost burden of energy and mitigate health and safety impediments that exist in buildings — all of which disproportionately affect people of color and low-income households. We invite you to walk this journey with us. Michigan Saves needs partners like you that have collaborated and worked alongside us over the last 10 years. We look forward to hearing from you and working with you to support Michigan’s equitable clean energy future.