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 the Clean Energy Community designation by completing four or more 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 Leadership Round was launched in November 2020. The Leadership Round is a powerful new update to the original Clean Energy Communities to make the program more impactful, innovative, and sustainable over time. In the Leadership Round, 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 the existing high-impact actions are retained, although some are expanded, and some new actions have been added. Communities do not need to be designated Clean Energy Communities to earn grants through the Leadership Round. All communities are invited to participate.
Three types of grants are available in the Clean Energy Communities Leadership Round: Designation Grants, Point-Based Grants, and Action Grants. Any $20,000 or greater grant award where the grant project is in a New York State Disadvantaged Community may be eligible for an additional $10,000 bonus grant.
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
The 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. In the Leadership Round, communities that earn the Clean Energy Community designation and did not receive a previous designation grant are eligible to apply for a one-time $5,000 grant.
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 certain point thresholds to become eligible for larger grant amounts before they are all claimed. When NYSERDA approves a high-impact action, points are automatically added to the applicant’s scorecard. Each community’s point balance is available at www.nyserda.ny.gov/cec.
The Town of Richland installed a solar PV array using funds from a CEC grant award
Once a community earns the required number of points, it will be notified by email of the opportunity to apply for a points-based grant, if available. The number of available grants is identified by community size and geography in the tables below. Large size communities (40,000+ population) have potential to be awarded a total of $250,000 in point-based grants. Small/medium sized communities (0-39,999 population) have potential to be awarded a total of $100,000 in point-based grants.
Earn 3,000+ points
Earn 4,000+ points
Earn 5,000+ points
Action Grants are available for the following high-impact actions: NYStretch Energy Code and Community Campaigns.
When adopting the NYStretch Energy Code, small/medium-sized communities (population <40,000) become eligible for a $5,000 grant, with 100 grants available for small/medium-sized communities statewide. Large communities (population 40,000+) become eligible for a $50,000 grant, with 40 grants available throughout the state.
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 and Energy Efficiency (partner with HeatSmart CNY!)
Community Campaign for Demand Response
Each campaign type can earn a community points towards a point-based grant as well as separate 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:
Contact your CEC Coordinator for more information about action grants.
High Impact Actions
How to Participate
Communities in CNY have been awarded a total of $1.82M in CEC grant funds to date! Is your community participating?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or Chris Carrick at email@example.com. For municipalities outside of CNY, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org 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