NYSERDA Clean Energy Communities
Clean Energy Communities Program
Launched in August 2016, the Clean Energy Communities (CEC) program provides grants, coordinator support, and a clear path forward to local governments that demonstrate leadership by completing NYSERDA-selected high-impact actions. Since program launch, hundreds of local governments – large, small, urban, rural, and suburban - have completed high-impact actions through the program. Hundreds of local governments have earned Clean Energy Community designations by completing high-impact actions. In every region of New York State, communities are implementing an exciting array of clean energy projects supported by grant awards.
To build on this success, the Clean Energy Communities Round 3.0 was launched in December 2023. Round 3.0 is a powerful new update to Clean Energy Communities to make the program more impactful, innovative, and rewarding for municipalities. In Round 3.0, communities continue to work with regional coordinators to prioritize and implement high-impact actions, apply for grants that emphasize new activity and impact, and earn new forms of recognition. All communities are invited to participate.
Two types of grants are available in the Clean Energy Communities Leadership Round: Designation Grants and Action Grants. Any grant award over $5,000 where the grant project is in a New York State Disadvantaged Community may be eligible for a bonus grant of up to 50% of the awarded amount.
Key advantages to participating in the Clean Energy Communities program include:
Flexible grant funding with no local cost share
Free coordinator support
Recognition for your community’s leadership
Cayuga County purchased two plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and installed charging stations using funds from a CEC grant award
Initial Clean Energy Community designation is available to communities that complete four high-impact actions. At least two of the high-impact actions must be completed after August 1, 2016.
Higher levels of designation are available as communities collect points by completing high-impact actions. Each high-impact action has a certain number of points assigned to it. The object is to collect enough points to cross higher designation thresholds to become eligible for larger grant amounts. When NYSERDA approves a high-impact action, points are automatically added to the applicant’s scorecard. Each community’s point balance is available at https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Programs/Clean-Energy-Communities/Tracking-Progress/Scorecard.
Once a community completes four actions and/or earns the required number of points, it will be notified by email of the opportunity to apply for the associated designation grant. The grant award amounts are identified by community size in the tables below.
The Town of Richland installed a solar PV array using funds from a CEC grant award
Designation Grants Before 10/1/2024
Designation Grants On or After 10/1/2024
Action grants are available for communities that complete one or more of the following campaign types:
Community Campaign for Community Solar
Community Campaign for Electric Vehicles
Community Campaign for Clean Heating and Cooling
Each campaign type can earn a community points towards a point-based grant as well as separate action grant awards. In order to qualify for a Community Campaign Action Grant, a community must demonstrate direct municipal participation in the campaign and provide a customer list that includes the required amount of customers per achievement level. Grant availability for community campaigns can be checked at https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Clean-Energy-Communities/Tracking-Progress/Remaining-Grants.
Contact your CEC Coordinator for more information about action grants.
Below is a list of the high impact action categories that are a part of the Clean Energy Communities program. Many categories have multiple possible actions to choose from. Please contact your CEC Coordinator for more information about implementing actions and earning points.
Benchmarking - up to 1,800 points
Build Ready - up to 800 points
Clean Energy Upgrades and Municipal Building Demonstration - up to 4,100 points
Clean Fleets - Electric Vehicles and Charging Stations - up to 6,700 points
Climate Smart Communities Certification - up to 1,400 points
Community Campaigns - up to 3,800 points
Community Choice Aggregation - up to 2,000 points
County-Hosted Trainings - up to 1,200 points
Electric Landscaping Equipment - 200 points
Energy Code Enforcement Training - 300 points
Green Financing - up to 1,000 points
LED Streetlights - up to 900 points
Municipal Clean Fleets inventory - 200 points
Renewable Energy - up to 4,600 points
Thermal Energy Networks - up to 1,000 points
How to Participate
Communities in CNY have been awarded over $2M in CEC grant funds to date! Is your community participating?
If so, where do you stand? If not, get involved by:
Dedicated and knowledgeable local Clean Energy Coordinators, including the CNY RPDB, are available to applicants to provide on-demand technical assistance, step-by-step guidance, case studies, model ordinances, project development support and other tools and resources. To access this support in CNY, please contact Amanda Mazzoni at email@example.com or Chris Carrick at firstname.lastname@example.org. For municipalities outside of CNY, please send an email to email@example.com or visit www.nyserda.ny.gov/cec for more information.
The Town of DeWitt purchased electric vehicles and installed charging stations using funds from a CEC grant award