- Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll
- Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Media Contact for Massachusetts Submits Application for Federal Funds to Decarbonize Low-Income and Affordable Housing
Karissa Hand, Press Secretary
Boston — The Healey-Driscoll Administration announced that Massachusetts agencies have requested clean energy investments for up to 78,500 low-income and affordable homes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, the largest single emissions reduction initiative in United States history. A coalition led by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), and including the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), MassHousing, and Boston Housing Authority, submitted the state’s application to the Solar for All competition for $250 million. In parallel, the Massachusetts Community Climate Bank, based at MassHousing, submitted the requisite information on possible projects in Massachusetts to the non-profit applicants eligible for the National Clean Investment Fund (NCIF). This submission would cover 28,000 affordable rental homes. Together, the projects identified for these two competitions represent substantial potential investment in clean energy upgrades for low-income and affordable housing across Massachusetts.
“The Inflation Reduction Act created a generational opportunity for funds for states, and Massachusetts will compete for every available dollar to achieve our ambitious clean energy goals. We’re grateful to the Biden Administration and our Congressional delegation for making these historic funds available,” said Governor Maura Healey. “With our Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund projects, we will build a clean energy future that ensures the benefits of solar energy and decarbonized buildings are shared by the residents historically burdened by high energy costs and environmental injustice.”
“With these submissions, our administration is again tying our efforts to address the housing crisis with our climate strategy,” said Lieutenant Governor Driscoll. “A future with affordable places to live that are also clean and healthy is possible – this is how we get there.”
The state’s actions reflect a strategic collaboration between energy and housing agencies, highlighting the Healey-Driscoll Administration’s whole-of-government approach to address climate change. The Solar for All and NCIF funds will combine the state’s solar energy and building decarbonization expertise at DOER and MassCEC with the housing finance and development expertise of MassHousing and Boston Housing Authority. In addition, the collaboration leverages the state’s creation of the Massachusetts Community Climate Bank in June 2023.
“The climate crisis presents an opportunity to right past wrongs, and these two grant applications demonstrate that,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper. “The people who have historically borne the brunt of the pollution, extreme weather, and high energy costs should benefit the most from the clean energy transition. These funds are an important way that we can build healthier, more affordable communities.”
“The Commonwealth’s housing priorities are deeply interconnected with our climate goals,” said Housing and Livable Communities Secretary Ed Augustus. “This federal funding opportunity will support the communities most affected by climate change and move us one step closer to decarbonization of the state’s housing stock.”
“DOER is proud to lead this coalition of state and municipal agencies to deploy solar energy across all Massachusetts communities,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Elizabeth Mahony. “Our Solar for All application builds on our proven success in delivering solar energy programs at scale and extends the benefits of solar energy to communities that have not benefitted enough from past programs.”
“MassHousing’s ability to operate at a significant scale in service of lower-income households, and our deep experience in retrofitting affordable housing and financing new Passive House buildings, position Massachusetts to make the most of this unprecedented federal funding opportunity,” said MassHousing Executive Director Chrystal Kornegay. “We look forward to advancing Governor Healey’s vision of advancing a sustainable clean energy future across Massachusetts.”
"Low income residents must be at the forefront of our transition to clean energy," said Kenzie Bok, Administrator and CEO of the Boston Housing Authority. "The Boston Housing Authority is thrilled to work with the Healey administration to ensure public housing communities across the state enjoy the benefits of solar energy."
The U.S. EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund will allocate $27 billion through three separate competitions to invest in clean energy projects in environmental justice communities. States are eligible to compete directly in the $7 billion Solar for All program to accelerate solar energy deployment in low-income communities. The $14 billion NCIF will award funds to 2-3 non-profit intermediary organizations with which all states must coordinate a pipeline of potential investment projects.
In its Solar for All application, DOER proposed to incentivize solar energy installation for a wide variety of types of low-income and affordable housing. The application for $250 million leverages Massachusetts’ extensive track record developing an ecosystem of solar energy deployment programs and extends the benefits of solar energy to communities that have not benefited from past state programs. Based on dozens of meetings with key stakeholders from solar development, environmental justice, labor, and community development groups, DOER developed a coalition application comprised of the MassCEC, MassHousing, and Boston Housing Authority to address the different types of low-income and affordable housing that exist across Massachusetts. In particular, the coalition leverages MassCEC’s experience in administering the state’s previous solar loan program, MassHousing’s role as a financial partner for privately owned affordable housing and Boston Housing Authority’s role in coordinating investment opportunities for municipal housing authorities across all of Massachusetts. The proposal estimates over 48,500 low-income and affordable households could be served by Solar for All in Massachusetts. Over 80 stakeholder organizations provided letters of support, including the Massachusetts Building Trades Union and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
The NCIF applicants included five consortia of non-profit organizations, each with their own proposed investment program. The Massachusetts Community Climate Bank provided information about potential projects to each applicant for inclusion in the pipeline of potential NCIF investments. The Climate Bank offers NCIF coalitions the ability to deploy federal funds quickly, in priority communities, and at scale. The Climate Bank is offering NCIF coalitions a universe of 28,000 affordable rental homes that are eligible to be retrofitted with EPA funding over the next five years. Providing this information makes it more likely that the awardee would invest in projects in Massachusetts. The Climate Bank offers NCIF coalitions the ability to deploy federal funding, at scale, in projects prioritized by the EPA.
Statements of Support
Lou Antonellis, Business Manager, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 103 of Greater Boston:
“The Commonwealth’s proposed program will create high-road careers, generate sustainable economic growth, and provide much needed environmental and social justice. We especially applaud the Commonwealth’s proposed program for its focus on workforce development through registered apprenticeship programs and fair living wages and benefits. We believe the program’s commitment to focusing on projects in historically disenfranchised communities and for low-income housing is crucial for rectifying historical inequities and fostering a more inclusive clean energy economy. IBEW 103 and our partners Local 7 of Western Massachusetts, Local 96 of Central Massachusetts, and Local 223 of Southeast Massachusetts were proud to support the Healey-Driscoll Administration’s application for Solar for All."
Frank Callahan, President of the Massachusetts Building Trades Unions:
“The Building Trades is proud to support Massachusetts’ submission for the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. The funds made available by the Inflation Reduction Act represents a historic opportunity to create well-paid union careers and our members are at the ready to build the clean energy future. The work of our members is critical to meeting the state’s and country’s ambitious clean energy goals.”
Adam Chapdelaine, Executive Director and CEO Massachusetts Municipal Association:
“As cities and towns are on the front lines of addressing climate change, the MMA is proud to partner with the DOER and the MassCEC in their efforts, through the Solar for All program, to assist the important work of local officials across the Commonwealth while supporting decarbonization goals. The MMA is particularly supportive of Solar for All's commitment to providing equitable access for low-income households and affordable housing, and ensuring that a wide range of diverse communities will be served.”
Glynn Lloyd, Executive Director of Mill Cities Community Investments:
“As a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) focused on supporting historically disinvested communities across the state, Mill Cities Community Investments (MCCI) is thrilled to support the State's application for the Solar for All program. MCCI's green lending program (focused on LMI homeowners and business owners seeking to transition to energy-efficient and clean energy systems) greatly aligns with the approach carefully laid out by MA DOER and MassCEC, and we both recognize and applaud their inclusive efforts to seek community input in their proposal, as well as their longstanding experience and knowledge of deploying solar tools that deliver meaningful benefits in the communities served.”
Chrissy Lynch, President, Massachusetts AFL-CIO:
“Union workers are building the decarbonized buildings of the future and constructing healthier, thriving communities from the ground up. We are grateful for the leadership of the Healey-Driscoll Administration in convening stakeholders to submit this important application. We stand at the ready to put IRA funds to work for Massachusetts residents.”