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The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) Agricultural Energy Grant Program (Ag Energy) is a competitive grant program that funds agricultural energy projects in an effort to improve energy efficiency and the adoption of alternative energy by Massachusetts farms.  The goal of the program is that farms can become more sustainable and the Commonwealth can maximize the environmental and economic benefits from these technologies.

The Ag-Energy Grant Program has a partnership arrangement with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) allowing the formation of a new “Special Projects” grant issued for the first time in FY2017.

The Ag-Energy Program now has two separate grant programs: our Ag-Energy Traditional Grant, now in its 10th year, funding a wide variety of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects:   and Ag-Energy “Special Projects”, now in its 2nd year, for specific project categories for agricultural energy projects that would typically require higher capital cost but potentially yield greater savings and/or positive agricultural impacts.

For FY 2018, reimbursement grants of up to $30,000 will be awarded on a competitive basis for the Ag-Energy Traditional Grant Program, while the Ag-Energy Special Projects program will award reimbursement grants on a competitive basis for the six specific categories listed this year.  

By implementing these projects under our programs, agricultural operation can help demonstrate new ideas while contributing to the goals of: the MA Food Systems Plan; MA Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Implementation; and the MA Global Warming Solutions Act; and to advance technologies that can be replicated at other agricultural operations in Massachusetts.

For the Traditional Grant Program, all farm related energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that meet the program requirements will be considered, although priority will be given to proposals that focus on the technologies listed in the application.  Examples of priority projects for energy efficiency include; plate coolers, heat recovery, variable speed vacuum pumps, thermal blankets, reverse osmosis, and high efficiency refrigeration. Examples of priority projects for renewable energy include; geothermal, photovoltaics, wind, and solar thermal. 

For the “Special Projects” Program, funds are for specific, higher capital cost, energy saving and energy replacement technology implementation opportunities that improve energy efficiency and facilitate alternative clean energy needs. The FY2018 Ag-Energy Special Projects grant program will fund projects up to the maximum amount listed in their categories in the following table: 

Energy Efficiency ProjectsMaximum Funding
Heat Recovery for Anaerobic Digester$50,000
New High Efficiency Single or Multi-Temperature Walk-in Coolers$25,000
Renewable Energy ProjectsMaximum Funding
Co-Location aka Dual Use of Land Solar Photovoltaic$100,000
Combine Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy ProjectsMaximum Funding
Zero Net Energy Greenhouse Projects$75,000
Super Efficient Zero Net Energy New Farm Building Construction$75,000
Commercial Scale, High Efficiency, and Renewable Energy Urban Ag Greenhouses$75,000


Eligibility and Applying

The operation must be an agricultural operation as defined by M.G.L. c.128, Sec. 1A. The farming operation must have received an energy audit/energy assessment, or will demonstrate the initiation or commitment for such. The operation must be a legally recognized entity within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and must have the ability to enter a legally binding agreement with the Commonwealth. See specific eligibility requirements within the application. 

The application period is closed.  We hope to release the next round of applications in later winter 2018.