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Burlington Receives $177k To Install Solar Panels On Its Roof

Burlington receives $177K to install solar panels on its roof. The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $8.1 million in grants through the Gap Energy Grant Program to assist water facilities, non-profits, and small businesses reduce energy use, increase energy efficiency, and produce renewable energy as part of its ongoing support for a more sustainable Commonwealth.

This grant provided $177,805 to the town of Burlington for the installation of a 66.1 kW rooftop photovoltaic system at the Mill Pond water treatment plant, along with new weatherization and window stripping measures. Eversource is the provider of the electric utility.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), which manages the initiative under its Clean Energy Results Program, administers the Gap Energy Grants.

These grants, which are made possible by the Climate Protection and Mitigation Expendable Trust, enable their recipients to use utility incentives and money from other sources to construct or install energy efficiency and clean energy projects by filling the "gap" in project financing.

The 63 recipients of the grants this year come from three different state sectors: municipal water facilities, non-profit multi-family affordable housing organizations, and small businesses and non-profits engaged in agriculture and food production.

One of our top environmental priorities, according to Governor Charlie Baker, is helping municipalities, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations actively work to reduce their energy usage and use clean, renewable energy.

"These Gap Energy Grant Program funds will significantly help these municipalities and organizations as they work to improve efficiency, reduce energy use, and generate clean energy to produce immediate and long-term energy savings and contribute to the state's efforts to reduce its carbon footprint," according to the statement.

According to Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, "The Gap Energy Grant Program enables municipal water utilities and other organizations to leverage critical sources of funding, including energy efficiency incentives from electrical utilities, to fully implement energy saving measures."

Importantly, with lower energy costs, these entities can put the money they save on operating expenses back into their infrastructure and organizational goals.

More than 100 projects will be supported by these 63 grant awards, all of which must be finished by the end of 2024. More than 250 households could be powered by the projects' onsite clean energy production or annual electricity savings of more than 9,000 megawatt hours (MWh), which would also result in a 3,359 metric ton reduction in carbon emissions. The grantees anticipate total annual savings of up to $1,642,963 overall.

According to Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Beth Card, "Massachusetts is a national leader in energy efficiency and the development of renewable energy, and the one-of-a-kind Gap Energy Grant Program furthers our collective efforts and delivers favorable results across the Commonwealth." These important grants offer a positive return on investment for the state, energy utilities, and the general public in addition to the organizations receiving the funding.

According to MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg, "Based on the success of the Gap Energy Grant Program over the last ten years, MassDEP is pleased to expand the program to non-profit multi-family affordable housing and non-profit agricultural and food distribution entities."

"These organizations, like municipal water utilities, may have financial restrictions that prevent them from taking advantage of opportunities for significant energy savings and renewable energy sources. The nonprofits we are supporting with a Gap Energy grant will now be able to lower their energy costs and put the money they save back into their initiatives, many of which assist the state's most vulnerable and underprivileged citizens.

The Gap Energy Grant Program has now expanded to include small businesses and nonprofits for the first time this year. The second round of Gap Energy grants awarded $4 million in 2018 to 43 drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities, funding 36 energy projects that are saving the facilities $1.3 million annually and producing about 9,580 MWh of on-site clean energy generation or electricity savings.

In 2014, the first round of Gap Energy grants included payments totaling more than $1.7 million to 21 water and wastewater facilities for 30 projects. These projects produced enough electricity over a 15-year period to fully heat and power close to 900 Massachusetts homes.

According to State Senator Julian Cyr, "pursuing energy efficient initiatives is a critical component to reducing carbon emissions in our efforts to mitigate the climate crisis" (D-Truro). "I am thrilled that money from the Gap Energy Grant Program will be given to water facilities in Edgartown, Orleans, and Yarmouth, as well as housing-focused non-profits on Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. This money will help fund local projects that advance our community's transition to clean energy."

State Senator Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport), the head of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, said of Elliott Farm: "Elliot Farm is a fantastic small business in Lakeville that has continued to evolve and grow."

"I thank Elliot Farm for being a model company that is demonstrating how to grow a business, be energy efficient, and contribute to a healthier planet. I congratulate them on being a recipient of the Massachusetts Gap Energy Grant Program."