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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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Green Communities Grant Program   

Last DSIRE Review: 04/26/2013
Program Overview:
State: Massachusetts
Incentive Type: State Grant Program
Eligible Efficiency Technologies: Unspecified Technologies
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Photovoltaics, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, CHP/Cogeneration, Other Distributed Generation Technologies
Applicable Sectors: Local Government
Amount:Custom incentive, amount will vary
Maximum Incentive:Custom incentive, amount will vary
Funding Source:Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)
Start Date:03/2010
Expiration Date:Application deadline: 01/21/2013
Web Site:
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
M.G.L. ch. 25A, ยง 10

Note:  The Green Communities Grant Program is no longer accepting applications. The deadline to receive official designation as a Green Community was October 30, 2012. For designated communities, the grant application period closed January 21, 2013.

In 2008, Massachusetts enacted the Green Communities Act (S.B. 2768) and created the Green Communities Division within the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) to support Massachusetts communities towards a sustainable future, specifically in terms of energy use.

The Green Communities Division offers educational, technical, and networking support to the states' communities. In addition, they provide financial incentives. The Green Communities Grant Program offers funding for communities investing in energy efficiency upgrades and policies, renewable energy technologies, energy management systems and services, and demand side reduction programs.

To be eligible, communities first must apply for and achieve official designation as a "Green Community." The basic steps required for this designation include:

  • Stipulate "as-of-right" siting for renewable energy (or alternative energy) generation, manufacturing, or research and development (via ordinance)
  • Provide for expedited application and permitting processes for those facilities sited in "as-of-right" designated locations
  • Reduce energy use by 20% in 5 years
  • Adopt a policy and procure only fuel-efficient vehicles
  • Establish requirements to minimize life-cycle energy costs for new construction (suggested route for achieving this step is via adoption of "Stretch Code." See the program website for more information).

The Green Communities Division provides several model ordinances and guides and is staffed with energy experts to help communities take these steps to earn designation. As of September 2012, there are 103 officially designated Green Communities in Massachusetts. At the time of designation, the Green Communities Division will inform municipalities of its grant amount, which is based on the available funds, number of applications and a grant formula. Then, the Green Community is invited to submit a grant application for the grant amount. 


  Cliff Sullivan
Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources
100 Cambridge St., Suite 1020
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: (617) 626-7300
Fax: (617) 727-0030
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.