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Funding Resources: Energy Efficiency Projects

The resources on this page reflect a mix of grants and incentive programs that help make energy-saving retrofits more streamlined and affordable. Click on the links below to learn more about specific programs.

Public Utility Conservation & Energy Efficiency Programs
Municipal Utilities
MFEP Incentives for Energy Efficiency
NRCS – EQIP
USDA-Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)
Funding Resources: Renewable Energy Projects
Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR)
Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC)
Solar thermal (hot water) Construction Rebates for Commercial Operations
Commonwealth Biomass and Heat Pump Pilot Program
Department of Public Utilities (DPU) Net Metering
Solar Renewable Energy Certifications (SRECS)
Business Investment Tax Credit (ITC)

Public Utility Conservation & Energy Efficiency Programs

Customers of investor-owned “public” utility companies pay into conservation and renewable energy funds and therefore have access to energy conservation programs, as well as the renewable energy programs offered by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. Utilities offer different types of energy assessments, performed by a contractor or employee of the utility company to make recommendations for improving energy efficiency.

Audit reports include estimated financial incentives from the utility company toward cost effective energy efficiency measures.

To be eligible for public utility incentives, contact your public utility and request an energy audit for your farm. See Get An Energy Audit for contact information.

Public utility audits are also useful for applying for MFEP Energy Efficiency Incentives and can be used as supporting documentation for many state and federal grant programs.

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Municipal Utilities

Since customers served by the 40 municipal electric and/or gas utility departments typically do not pay into conservation or renewable energy funds, municipal customers often don’t have access to energy conservation programs offered by the utility industry.

Contact your municipal utility company and ask them what conservation programs are available.
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MFEP Incentives for Energy Efficiency

MFEP offers financial incentives for implementing energy saving upgrades. Farms may be eligible to receive up to $5,000 toward the cost of energy efficiency retrofits. The intent is to help farms complete upgrades recommended by public utility or custom energy assessments. General requirements:

  • $4,000 maximum total incentive for farms eligible for public utility rebate programs
  • $5,000 maximum total incentive for farms served by municipal utilities that don’t offer conservation incentives

MFEP incentives are based on projected annual energy savings from energy efficiency measures – as documented in an energy audit as follows:

  • $0.20 incentive per kWh electricity, $0.10 incentive per kWh for lighting
  • $1.75 incentive per therm of natural gas
  • $2.50 incentive per gallon of propane
  • $2.00 incentive per gallon of fuel oil
  • $250 incentive per cord of wood

To apply, submit a request or call us at 413.727.3090

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Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR)

MDAR offers support for farms interested in energy efficiency, conservation, and renewables. MDAR staff promote energy awareness and facilitate the implementation of energy related projects for agri-businesses as a means to reduce energy costs and environmental pollution. Numerous resources are available through this state agency to assist you in obtaining technical and financial support for your farm.

MDAR occasionally offers energy related grant opportunities, specifically the Ag-Energy Grant Program, with proposals typically due in spring each year.

To discuss the technical aspects of your proposed energy project, please contact Gerry Palano, MDAR Renewable Energy Coordinator and MFEP partner at 617.626.1706 or Gerald.Palano@state.ma.us.

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NRCS – EQIP

The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service offers audits and financial compensation for the cost of implementing practices that reduce pollution and greenhouse emissions through their Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) On-Farm Energy Initiative. Payments are available to qualified farmers for energy efficiency upgrades for maple (steam pans, higher efficiency evaporators and reverse osmosis systems), greenhouses (shade screens and high efficiency heating systems), and for some measures that save electricity (fans, motors, and automatic controls).

There are typically three ranking periods each year. Applicants must meet eligibility requirements and complete an Agricultural Energy Management Plan (to learn more visit our Get an Energy Audit page). Funding amounts and availability vary from year to year. For more information, contact your local NRCS office. 
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USDA-Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)

The Section 9007 of the 2008 Farm Bill provides funding for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. Rural Development administers these funds and offers grants, guaranteed loans, or a combination to farmers and rural small businesses. The annual application deadline is generally in the spring.

  • Grant requests must not exceed 25% of the eligible project costs.
  • RD renewable energy grants can range from $2,500 to $500,000, and can be combined with MassCEC grants.
  • Energy efficiency grants can range from $1,500 to $250,000, and may be combined with public utility incentive programs and MA Farm Energy Program incentives.
  • Guaranteed loans can be made up to 75% of the project to a maximum of $25 million, or a combination of 25% grant and up to 50% guaranteed loan. You can learn more about the programs at this link.

Energy generated or saved by the 9007 program cannot be for residential use. The estimated cost of installing an electrical meter to separate farm use from residential use is considered an eligible project expense.

Determine eligibility: If you plan to apply, or have questions about eligibility, level of energy assessment, or environmental review requirements, contact Anne Correia in the West Wareham USDA-RD office, 774-678-7242, Anne.Correia@ma.usda.gov.

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Funding Resources: Renewable Energy Projects

The resources on this page represent a mix of grant programs, rebates, income streams, and tax incentives which combined can help to make your renewable energy project more feasible.

Many available types of renewable energy funding are reimbursable, meaning funding becomes available after the project is complete.

Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC)

The Green Jobs Act of 2008 created the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) to accelerate job growth and economic development in the state’s clean energy industry.

The Renewable Energy Generation division of MassCEC supports renewable energy projects throughout the Commonwealth. MassCEC  awards funds to hundreds of businesses, towns, and non-profits for feasibility and/or design and construction of solar panels, wind turbines, biomass systems, hydroelectric systems, and other clean energy systems.

Contact MassCEC to learn about current programs like Commonwealth Wind and Commonwealth Solar at www.masscec.com or call 617.315.9355.
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Solar thermal (hot water) Construction Rebates for Commercial Operations


The Commonwealth Solar Hot Water Commercial Program is currently accepting construction rebate applications. Applications will be accepted until funds are expended. Solar thermal can be applied to dairy operations, process heating, and greenhouse heating.
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Commonwealth Biomass and Heat Pump Pilot Program

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) have launched the Commonwealth Biomass and Heat Pump Pilot Programs. The biomass program will provide financial support for the replacement of non-EPA certified wood or coal stoves and outdated hydronic heaters with high efficiency, low emission versions, and incentives for the installation of specific types of wood pellet boilers.

The heat pump program will provide financial support for geothermal heat pump installations. MassCEC will make additional funding available for district heating projects using wood pellet or heat pump technologies at agricultural facilities.

Please visit the MassCEC website for more information and to sign up for program announcements.

Department of Public Utilities (DPU) Net Metering

Net metering encourages homeowners, businesses, and municipalities to install solar panels and wind turbines, and farm energy technologies such as anaerobic digesters, by allowing them to earn credit on their electric bills if they generate more power than they need.

Under the Green Communities Act signed by Governor Patrick in 2008, utility companies must compensate their customers for this excess electricity at the retail rate rather than the lower wholesale rate. Customers may allocate their credits to other customers, allowing those without facilities to take advantage of net metering benefits as well.

The Green Communities Act includes provisions for Agricultural Net Metering facilities whereby farms are able to install additional electrical renewable technologies besides wind and solar.

To find out how you can apply for net metering contact your local eligible utility (NGRID, NSTAR, WMECO or UNITIL) in coordination with your renewable energy contractor.

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Solar Renewable Energy Certifications (SRECS)

The Department of Energy Resources (DOER) has carved out a portion of the RPS Class I Renewable Energy requirement to support distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) energy facilities.

The RPS Solar Carve Out is a market based incentive program to support residential, public, and non-profit entities in developing solar photovoltaic (PV) across the state.

SRECs represent the positive environmental attribute associated with solar production. One SREC is created each time a solar PV system generates 1000kWh of electricity. This is deposited quarterly in the generator’s (or its aggregator’s) account based on meter readings. Generators can sell them to voluntary markets or “retire” their credits as a means of voluntarily supporting solar power.

To be eligible to participate in the RPS Solar Carve Out, PV systems must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a capacity of 6 MW or less per parcel of land
  • Be located in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which includes municipal light district territories
  • Have some of its generation on-site and be interconnected to the utility grid
  • Have a commercial operation date of Jan. 1, 2008 or later

However, projects that received funding from programs administered by the MassCEC or MRET prior to January 1, 2010, and those that received substantial funding (over 67% of total installed cost) from ARRA federal stimulus programs are NOT ELIGIBLE.

Please contact DOER for more information:

Massachusetts Solar Carve-Out Information
Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER)
100 Cambridge St., Suite 1020
Boston, MA 02114
E-Mail: DOER.SREC@State.MA.US
Web Site: http://www.mass.gov/energy/rps

Business Investment Tax Credit (ITC)

The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) provides tax credits for the development of a number of types of renewable energy infrastructure. The credit was expanded by The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, enacted in February 2009. In general, credits are available for eligible systems placed in service on or before December 31, 2016.

The following chart lists the Credit Termination Date and the applicable percentage of eligible costs used in computing the credit for each specified energy property. For more information, visit the DSIRE website.

 

Specified Energy Property Credit Termination Date Applicable Percentage of Eligible Cost
Solar (PV and Hot Water) Jan. 1, 2017 30%
Geothermal under IRC sec. 48 Jan. 1, 2017 10%
Microturbines Jan. 1, 2017 10%
Combined Heat & Power Jan. 1, 2017 10%
Small Wind Jan. 1, 2017 30%
Geothermal Heat Pumps Jan. 1, 2017