Low-Income Solar Revolving Grant Program

Cape Light Compact (“Compact”), with funding from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and former Cape Light Compact GreenSM power supply customers, is excited to announce it is now accepting applications from eligible parties for its Low-Income Solar Revolving Grant program (“Program”).

The Program will fund the equipment and installation cost of solar photovoltaic systems (a “PV system”) on affordable housing properties to reduce electric bills for low-income homeowners and benefit the environment by increasing the amount of renewable electricity on the electric grid. Eligible parties can apply for funding to cover 100% of the equipment and installation costs of a PV system on their home. Applicant and system eligibility requirements are laid out below.

Once the PV system is installed, the homeowner will own the PV system and the electricity that it produces, which will provide a zero-cost source of electricity for the homeowner. The homeowner will assign the Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) that the PV system will produce to the Compact. The Compact will sell the RECs and reinvest the sale proceeds into the Revolving Grant Fund in order continue funding the installation of PV systems.

HOMEOWNER AND PROPERTY ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

To be eligible to receive funds under the Program, you must be a(n):

  • Owner of an eligible deed-restricted home; or
  • An affordable housing organization that:
    • Rents housing to qualified low-income tenants; or
    • Constructs deed-restricted housing for sale to qualified low-income homeowners.

Properties must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Property must be located on Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard
  • Property must have an affordability restriction in perpetuity recorded on the deed
    • At or below 80% AMI for Cape Cod
    • At or below 100% AMI for Martha’s Vineyard
  • Homeowners (or renters) must have the electric utility account in their name and must be responsible for paying the electric bill on the property.
  • If newly-built housing that has not yet been sold to a qualified low-income homeowner, the electric utility account must be transferred to the homeowner at time of sale.
  • If newly-built housing, must have obtained a full building permit at the time of application.
  • If newly-built housing, must have consulted with the Compact on new construction energy efficiency program(s).
  • Home must have had a free home energy assessment (through Cape Light Compact or Mass Save) within the last twelve months, or sign up for one at the time of grant application (call 1-800-797-6699 to sign up for a free home energy assessment through Cape Light Compact)
  • If rental housing, must have a regulatory agreement in place restricting rental to qualified low-income tenants.

HOW IT WORKS

  1. Check the eligibility requirements (below) to see if you and your home are eligible.
  2. Fill out an Application for Determination of Eligibility.
  3. The Compact will verify eligibility and issue a Determination of Applicant Eligibility.
  4. If you are eligible, as part of the Determination of Applicant Eligibility, the Compact will provide you with forms of two agreements to review in connection with participation in the Program. One is a Grant and Assignment Agreement that governs how you will receive the grant funds and assign the RECs to the Compact (it contains your reporting and maintenance  obligations).  The other is the Installation Services Agreement, which governs the installation of the PV system (the Compact pays the installer for the PV System under this agreement).  These agreements are provided to you to review prior to execution (see Step 8 below).
  5. If you are eligible, contact one of the solar installation companies on our pre-approved installer list and ask for a free site evaluation and system proposal.
  6. If an installer is interested, they will submit a proposal and supporting project documents to the Compact (after seeking your review and approval of the proposal).
  7. The Compact will evaluate the proposal for compliance with the PV system eligibility requirements (see below) and issue a Determination of PV System Eligibility to you and the installer.
  8. Once the Compact has notified you that the PV system is eligible, you will have 30 days to execute the Grant and Assignment Agreement and the Installation Services Agreement. Your grant funds will be reserved for the 30 day period. If 30 days have passed without your execution of the agreements, the Compact may make those funds available to other projects/applicants.
  9. Once the project agreements are executed, work can begin on the PV system installation.

PV SYSTEM ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

  • Must be purchased by grant recipient (not leased or financed through a power purchase agreement)
  • Must meet minimum technical specifications and warranty requirements in the Installation Services Agreement
    • Must have a minimum Total Solar Resource Fraction (TSRF) of 70%
  • Construction must begin on or after execution of Installation Services Agreement and Grant and Assignment Agreement.
  • PV System must be installed by a pre-approved installer.
  • PV system must be connected behind-the-meter, directly offsetting homeowner’s onsite electric use.
  • All net metering credits must be assigned to the homeowner’s or renter’s utility account for the term of the grant agreement.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

  • Grant funding is limited and the Compact will seek to make awards on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible entities for eligible properties and PV systems.
  • After funding for a PV system is fully reserved (based on receipt of an eligible PV system proposal), the Compact will keep a waiting list in the order in which eligible PV system proposals were received. Reservation of grant funds for a PV system is subject to timing requirements and the Compact’s additional criteria for distribution of grant funds, set forth in this Program description.
  • Owners of PV systems funded through the Program will have no claim to any renewable attributes of electricity produced by the PV system.
  • Removal of a PV system at the end of the term of the Grant and Assignment Agreement will be the sole responsibility of the homeowner.
  • The Compact reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to grant exceptions to the Program requirements and/or deny applications.

CRITERIA TO BE CONSIDERED IN THE DISTRIBUTION OF GRANT FUNDS

The Compact will evaluate PV system proposals on a case-by-case basis for compliance with eligibility requirements below.  The Compact will consider:

  • The order in which a proposal for an eligible PV System is received.
  • The number and nature of requested exceptions to Program requirements.
  • Geographic distribution of funds: approximately 90% of grant funds will be reserved for projects located on Cape Cod, and 10% will be reserved for projects located on Martha’s Vineyard.
  • The Compact may prioritize funding for particular public benefit (e.g., low-income veteran housing).
  • Amount of Program funding received by applicant to date.
  • PV system equipment and installation cost.
  • The number of beneficiaries per PV system.
  • The timing for interconnection of the PV system to the local electric distribution company system.
  • The eligibility of the PV system for the Massachusetts Solar Carve-out II Program (expected to end early 2018).

Forms and Documents

 

If you have any questions about the program, please contact Austin Brandt, Power Supply Planner, at austin.brandt@capelightcompact.org.

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