Massachusetts Awards Clean Energy Grants For Low-Income Residents

The Baker-Polito administration is Massachusetts has announced $3.7 million in grant funding to increase the adoption of cost-saving clean energy technologies by low-income residents.

Under the Affordable Clean Residential Energy Program (ACRE), the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) awarded $2 million to Action for Boston Community Development to fund the installation of air-source heat pumps and solar PV systems, weatherization, energy-efficient lighting, and appliance replacement for qualifying single-family homes that report incomes below 60% of the State Median Income.

MassCEC also awarded $1.7 million to Energy Futures Group to target Western Massachusetts residents living below 80% of the State Median Income. The program will leverage an innovative financing model and maximize federal and state incentives to allow low-income homeowners to combine air source heat pumps with solar PV to reduce energy costs without out-of-pocket investment.

“We are pleased to invest in a clean energy program that will allow more Massachusetts residents to keep more money in their pockets, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” says Gov. Charlie Baker, R-Mass., in a press release. “By continuing the commonwealth’s nation-leading efforts, these programs will help mitigate the barriers low-income residents face, while helping the commonwealth mitigate the effects of climate change.”

Launched by the Baker-Polito administration in 2016, the Affordable Access to Clean and Efficient Energy (AACEE) initiative is a $15 million commitment that focuses on coordinating the agencies that serve the energy and housing needs of the state’s low- and moderate-income residents and identify the most effective strategies to direct funding. This grant funding aims to increase the number of renewable technologies in low-income, single-family homes throughout the state.

“By broadening the opportunity to adopt clean energy technologies to as many Massachusetts residents as possible, the Baker-Polito administration is able to support and expand the commonwealth’s thriving clean energy economy,” says Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton.

The AACEE initiative established an inter-secretariat working group between the EEA, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development and other public, quasi-public, and private stakeholders that represented low- and moderate-income housing and clean energy sectors. The working group released a report in 2016 highlighting recommendations to address barriers to clean energy investment by the state’s low-income residents. Recommendations included maximizing clean energy market growth in the low-income housing and homeowner community, as well as structuring clean energy incentives to better serve low- and moderate-income residents. An initial $5 million targeted renewable thermal for homes on fuel assistance, provided low- and moderate-income adders for clean heating and cooling rebates, and funded a Low-Income Challenge of innovative ideas to increase energy efficiency and renewable energy in multifamily affordable housing.

“As part of the Baker-Polito administration’s affordable access initiative, this program will bolster efforts to make renewable energy accessible to more Massachusetts residents,” says MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike. “We look forward to working with Action for Boston Community Development and Energy Futures Group to implement programs that will deliver cost-effective clean energy solutions and economic benefits to ratepayers across the Commonwealth.”

“Increasing access to clean energy for our low-income residents raises the bar for everyone,” says State Senate President Stan Rosenberg, D-Amherst.

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