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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 January 2021. 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. 

The CNY RPDB hosted two informational webinars about the CEC Leadership Round on February 8, 2021 and February 17, 2021. Click here to view the 2/8/21 webinar recording.

Click here to view the 2/17/21 webinar recording.

Click here for the presentation slides.


Grant Opportunities


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.

CEC Program
Grant Opps
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
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Cayuga County purchased two plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and installed charging stations using funds from a CEC grant award

Designation Grants

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.

Point-Based Grants

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



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

Action grants are available for communities that complete one or more of the following campaign types:

  1. Community Campaign for Community Solar

  2. Community Campaign for Electric Vehicles

  3. 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

Contact your CEC Coordinator for more information about action grants.

High Impact Actions
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How to Participate
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:

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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 or Chris Carrick at For municipalities outside of CNY, please send an email to or visit for more information.

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The Town of DeWitt purchased electric vehicles and installed charging stations using funds from a CEC grant award

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