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Green Communities Grant Program

Eligibility 
Local Government
Savings Category 
Photovoltaics
Solar Water Heat
Maximum Rebate 

Custom incentive, amount will vary

Program Info
Funding Source 

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)

Start Date 

03/2010

Expiration Date 

01/21/2013

State 
Massachusetts
Program Type 
State Grant Program
Rebate Amount 

Custom incentive, amount will vary

Provider 
Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources

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 ([http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2008/Chapter169 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.