Baker-Polito Administration Announces Funding for Early Stage Clean Energy Companies

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Robert Fitzpatrick
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Apr 26, 2019 –

The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $529,600 in funding to support three early-stage clean energy technology companies. The funding, awarded through the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s (MassCEC) InnovateMass program, will support clean energy innovators in Amesbury, Cambridge and Easthampton. The announcement was made by state energy officials during a tour of CI Works in Amesbury as part of the Commonwealth’s Earth Week celebrations.

“As our Administration works to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the contributions of Massachusetts’ many researchers and startups to clean energy technology are invaluable,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The companies receiving funding through the InnovateMass program are well-positioned to develop groundbreaking technology advancements that will lead to positive economic impact for the Commonwealth while helping meet the challenges posed by climate change.”

“Across the Commonwealth, clean energy entrepreneurs are hard at work pursuing next-generation advancements in technology, which creates local jobs and economic growth,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “These companies are pursuing innovative developments in solar energy and clean transportation that will help reduce carbon emissions in a more efficient and cost-effective manner.”

The InnovateMass program provides grant funding to start-up teams developing clean energy technologies. The InnovateMass program also provides technical assistance and support to help companies develop, at no additional cost. Including this award, InnovateMass has awarded over $5.2 million in funding to 41 companies since its creation in 2013. It has also leveraged $6.1 million in other investments and resulted in over $125 million of follow-on funding for awarded companies.

“Massachusetts is proud of its reputation as a national epicenter for innovation, and our clean energy startups represent a critical sector of the state’s economy,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The funding awarded through the InnovateMass program will put these companies in position to draw significant private investment, growing the state’s clean energy industry."

“The InnovateMass program seeks to provide essential capital to early stage clean energy companies at a point in their development when they are most vulnerable to funding challenges,” said MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike. “With this capital infusion, these companies are positioned to expand operations, tap into new markets and grow the state’s vibrant innovation economy.”

The following companies are receiving funding: 

Blackburn Energy (Amesbury): $127,270 to develop an efficacy test for two different uses of its Blackburn RelGen product, a regenerative braking system that reduces the need to idle trucks during deliveries, loading, and unloading, leading to a reduction in wasted fuel and hazardous emissions.

Czar Power (Cambridge): $250,000 to implement a high-efficiency smart, solar canopy-powered EV charger with the ability to seamlessly integrate solar generation and grid power.

Solablock (Easthampton): $152,333 to fund the delivery of a training and teaching module on the installation of solar masonry and associated solar electrical systems to the Minuteman Regional Vocational High School in Lexington.

This funding builds upon the Baker-Polito Administration’s ongoing efforts to support the Commonwealth’s vibrant clean energy innovation sector, including recent initiatives announced in clean heating and cooling, energy storage and electric vehicle technologies. In August 2018 Governor Baker signed legislation that will ensure Massachusetts remains a national leader in clean energy while reducing costs to ratepayers. The legislation, An Act to Advance Clean Energy, includes the Governor’s proposal to create the first Clean Peak Standard in the country, increases the Commonwealth’s energy storage target to 1,000 megawatt hours (MWh), increases the Renewable Portfolio Standard, expands the Mass Save® programs to allow for strategic electrification and other clean energy technologies, and authorizes the Department of Energy Resources to require an additional 1,600 megawatt (MW) of offshore wind to be procured by the electric distribution companies in Massachusetts.

“CI Works is very pleased to host the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center here in Amesbury, which is a Green Community,” said CI Works CEO and Founder Robert O’Brien.  “MassCEC has provided support to a number of businesses located here at critical stages of their development and is an important part of their success in generating revenues and creating jobs.  We look forward to continued association with MassCEC as we advance our building – over 100-years old - toward being a net zero building and set an example for other businesses.”

“I’m grateful to the Baker–Polito administration which, through MassCEC, continues to support small businesses such as Blackburn Energy here in Amesbury,” said Amesbury Mayor Ken Gray. “Blackburn’s continued success in the clean energy technology sector is a shining example of the importance of collaborative business ecosystems such as CI Works and the services they provide to foster an environment conducive to groundbreaking innovations.  Amesbury has been a proud partner of CI Works since its location to Amesbury in 2014, where it is currently home to 65 small businesses, which have created 220 jobs in our community.  The City is fortunate to have businesses such as Blackburn and CI Works and we are excited to be a part of their continued growth and success.”

“This award is a testament to the Merrimack Valley’s commitment to continued green economic growth,” said State Senator Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen). “Thanks in large part to smart energy start-ups like Blackburn Energy, the Merrimack Valley is proving one of the most innovative, prosperous and economically productive regions of the Commonwealth.”

“We are thrilled Blackburn Energy received funding to support their mission to create zero emissions renewable electricity.” said State Representative James Kelcourse (R-Amesbury).  “This funding signifies the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to the clean energy sector and small business across the Commonwealth.”

“It is fantastic that Solablock has received this grant and is being recognized for its important clean energy work as well as supported as it brings this innovative technology to students across the Commonwealth,” said State Representative Daniel R. Carey (D-Easthampton).

InnovateMass is funded through MassCEC’s Renewable Energy Trust, which was created by the Massachusetts Legislature in 1997. The trust is funded by municipal electric departments that have opted to participate in the program, along with a systems benefit charge paid by electric customers of investor-owned utilities in the state.