Funding to Increase Cost-Saving Programs for Low-Income Residents

BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration today awarded $3.7 million in grant funding to Action for Boston Community Development and Energy Futures Group to increase the adoption of cost-saving clean energy technologies by Massachusetts 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 photovoltaic systems, weatherization, and energy efficient lighting as well as appliance replacement for qualifying single-family homes that report incomes below 60 percent of the State Median Income. MassCEC also awarded $1.7 million to Energy Futures Group to target Western Massachusetts residents living below 80 percent 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 photovoltaics 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,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “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 Initiative (AACEE) is a $15 million commitment that focuses on coordinating the agencies that serve the energy and housing needs of the Commonwealth’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 low-income, single-family homes throughout the Commonwealth.

“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,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The Commonwealth continues to make historic investments in clean energy, and today’s announcement marks another important step in our effort to bring cost-effective, clean technologies into the homes of ratepayers across the state.”

The AACEE Initiative established an inter-secretariat working group between the EEA and Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (HED) 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, and structuring clean energy incentives to better serve low- and moderate-income residents. This funding builds on the recommendations by lowering the energy burden placed on low-income households and creating financing opportunities to increase access to clean energy technologies for low-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.

“The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to ensuring that all of the Commonwealth’s residents have access to our nation leading clean energy programs and policies,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson. “The ACRE program is an important first step in ensuring that income doesn’t affect a residents access to clean energy and energy efficiency technologies that benefit all Massachusetts’ ratepayers.”

“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,” said 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,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst). “I’m very pleased to see the Commonwealth doing more in this area, and very glad Western Massachusetts will play such a key role.”

“I applaud the Baker-Polito Administration’s comprehensive approach to making clean and energy efficient technologies available to low and moderate-income households across the Commonwealth,” said State Representative Thomas A. Golden, Jr. (D-Lowell), Chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy. “I look forward to working with the administration to further share the benefits of the state’s clean energy innovation economy with those most in need.”

“Massachusetts has long been a leader in clean energy generation and this program is a great effort by the Baker-Polito Administration to increase the accessibility and affordability of those technologies to our residents,” said State Senator Donald Humason (R-Westfield). “I am very happy that companies in my district will be helping to provide these opportunities to households across Western Massachusetts.”