Timeline and Milestones
The birth of Michigan Saves.
Through a grant from the Michigan Public Service Commission, Michigan Saves began with the mission to stimulate and support investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements in Michigan homes. This initial grant totaled $8 million, with $1 million earmarked to set up the organization and the remainder to establish a credit enhancement in the form of a loan loss reserve, which allows lenders to offer better rates and longer terms.
Launched residential program.
In October 2010, the first project was financed through Michigan Saves’ Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) for just over $3,000. HELP financing offers favorable terms and helps families reduce energy costs through improvements to their homes. As of the end of 2017, HELP has financed more than 9,000 projects in Michigan residences, for more than $87 million
$317,000 IN RESIDENTIAL LOANS
BetterBuildings for Michigan.
Through a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and Michigan Agency for Energy, the BetterBuildings for Michigan program was established to create a sustainable energy-efficiency market through outreach, education, and investment tools for lenders. Michigan Saves managed the grant on behalf of the state by working with several partners throughout the state to implement the program. By the time the program wound down in 2013, BetterBuildings for Michigan had completed energy-efficiency improvements on 7,689 homes throughout the state. Including directly leveraged homeowner participation in other programs, like the Weatherization Assistance Program and the Wyandotte Municipal Services WIRES program, BetterBuildings served 11,571 homeowners in total.
FIRST LOAN FOR A SOLAR PV SYSTEM IN JUNE 2011
$5.0 MILLION IN RESIDENTIAL LOANS
Launched commercial program.
Initially a pilot program, Michigan Saves’ Business Energy Financing program formally got up and running in 2012 to meet a market demand for efficiency and renewable energy improvements to commercial buildings. This program surpassed its targets to grow to nearly $35 million in cumulative financing by the end of 2017.
$12.9 MILLION IN RESIDENTIAL LOANS
$245,000 IN COMMERCIAL FINANCING
New executive director.
Although she had been helping lead Michigan Saves in her role as program manager for BetterBuildings for Michigan for quite some time, in 2013 Mary Templeton was formally brought on as executive director, bringing her deep knowledge and experience in residential and commercial energy-efficiency strategies. The organization went from having financed just under $20 million in energy-efficiency improvements prior to her appointment to over $100 million in less than five years under her leadership.
Multifamily unit expansion.
A traditionally underserved market, multifamily dwellings still make up a large share of Michigan homes, particularly among the low- and mid-income residents of the state. To reach this market, Michigan Saves launched a program to serve this market and overcome barriers that historically made it difficult to secure financing for this sector.
$8.7 MILLION IN RESIDENTIAL LOANS
$1.6 MILLION IN COMMERCIAL LOANS
In 2014, Michigan Saves took steps to aggressively lower interest rates for residential improvements. The organization successfully secured its lowest standard rate ever at 4.25% APR. This helped spur Michigan Saves’ best year to date in terms of loan activity. Also in this period, through partnerships with utilities, Michigan Saves introduced interest rate buydowns, whereby some commercial and residential customers could get rates as low as 0% APR.
Business Energy Financing program growth.
In 2014, Michigan Saves’ commercial financing program really began to take off, serving nearly twice as many customers than in the previous two years combined—a whopping 191 percent growth.
$9.8 MILLION IN RESIDENTIAL LOANS
$4.6 MILLION IN COMMERCIAL FINANCING
The Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards.
Seeking to celebrate outstanding achievements in energy excellence, Michigan Saves partnered with Office of the Governor to organize the first ever Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards. This event, now approaching its fourth year, recognizes pioneers in the field of energy efficiency around the state.
$13.4 MILLION IN RESIDENTIAL LOANS
$6.9 MILLION IN COMMERCIAL LOANS
$50 MILLION IN TOTAL PORTFOLIO LOANS
Strengthened solar energy improvements.
In 2016, Michigan Saves redoubled its efforts in the solar market. Although the organization financed its first solar project back in 2011, it wasn’t until 2016 when Michigan Saves brought on additional lenders with more favorable terms specifically for this market. As a result, in early 2017 Michigan Saves had financed a cumulative one megawatt in solar PV, enough to power over 200 homes per year. Just 11 months after that, the organization had doubled their growth in the solar PV market.
Increased access to energy efficiency.
Partnering with the City of Holland, Michigan Saves developed a creative financing program. This on-bill program allowed consumers to pay for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements through utility bill payments, thereby offering lower terms (up to 15 years), simplifying payments, and expanding credit to anyone who had consistent utility bill payment history.
$15.3 MILLION IN RESIDENTIAL LOANS
$8.6 MILLION IN COMMERCIAL FINANCING
SECOND ANNUAL GOVERNOR'S ENERGY EXCELLENCE AWARDS
$100 million and a bright future.
A banner year, 2017 saw Michigan Saves soar past the $100 million mark in energy efficient and renewable energy improvements. Recognizing this extraordinary growth, Michigan Saves stakeholders agreed on a sweeping new five-year strategy that would put the organization at $1 billion in green energy financing in 2023.