Image of solar panels.

In fall 2016, the Michigan legislature amended the Clean and Renewable Energy and Energy Waste Reduction Act (PA 295 of 2008) with passage of PA 342 of 2016 requiring electric providers to achieve a renewable energy credit portfolio of at least 15% by 2021.

Additionally, the cost of electricity from solar has dropped by nearly 75% since 2009, and is expected to fall 66% further by 2040, by some accounts.

With such events and trends, owners of large tracts of property in Michigan and local governments are seeing increased activity among solar energy developers exploring options for solar energy development. In response, Michigan State University Extension developed this training program for local government officials on planning and zoning for solar energy.

This workshop series is an opportunity for professional planners and local government officials to learn about steps and considerations for planning and zoning for solar energy development. The program will cover:

  • The Context of Solar Energy Development, including the new Michigan law and the state of the industry;
  • Introduction to Types/Scales of Solar, including Michigan examples;
  • Local Government Planning Approaches for Solar, with emphasis on planning for marginal lands first; and
  • Zoning Tools and Techniques for Solar, including siting and feasibility concerns.

Program Schedule:

September 19 - Alpena Township, 6 to 8:30 p.m.: 4385 US 23 North, Alpena

October 3 - The Hilliard Building, 6 to 8:30 p.m.: 121 E. Maple St., Mason

October 4 - Laketon Township, 6 to 8:30 p.m.: 2735 W. Giles Rd., North Muskegon

October 10 - MSU Detroit Center, 6 to 8:30 p.m.: 3408 Woodward Ave., Detroit (free/secure parking nearby)

October 12 - Online (live webinar): 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

AICP certification maintenance credits are pending. Master Citizen Planners will earn 2 hours of continuing education.

Cost:  Thanks to a sponsorship from the Michigan Energy Office, registration fees are reduced for this event.
$35 for Regular Registrants
$30 for Master Citizen Planners and groups of two or more from the same municipality

Cancellations received on or after Sept. 13 will incur a $15 cancellation fee.

Preregistration is required.

Instructors: All instructors are MSU faculty/staff with professional planning experience.

Download Event Flyer


Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting the event contact two weeks prior to the start of the event. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.

Contact Information

For more information, contact Brad Neumann, AICP, Senior Extension Educator, at