April 23, 2020

MassCEC10 - Celebrating a Decade of Clean Energy Innovation

Galen Nelson - Chief Program Officer

In 2009, a trio of MIT graduates came together around an idea.

The concept was to take advantage of dropping battery prices to create vehicle electrification solutions for fleets and eventually integrate them into the grid. If successful, the group could penetrate an untapped market with a new technology that would lower costs and reduce emissions at scale while providing an attractive financial return.

They had the vision. What they needed was financial support.

The company – named XL Hybrids – found that support in the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.

MassCEC, which started operating in 2010, was created to drive the growth of Massachusetts’ clean energy industry while establishing the Commonwealth as a national leader in clean energy innovation. We approach our mission in a number of ways, one of which is providing critical seed capital to bright young startups like XL Hybrids.

In 2010, MassCEC invested $300,000 in XL through one of our funds, catalyzing the company’s initial round of venture capital funding. In 2013, MassCEC awarded XL a $150,000 grant through our InnovateMass program, which, importantly, requires clean energy innovators to co-apply with early technology adopters. That funding helped XL, with a staff of 20 people, advance and expand its operations. In 2015, a $160,000 grant through MassCEC’s DeployMass  program enabled the company to buy down the costs of its hybrid vehicle system for 27 vehicles used by the Massachusetts Environmental Police (MEP) and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). In follow-on venture capital rounds, MassCEC joined major strategic investors to support XL with an additional $200,000 through our Investments program.

Today, XL is thriving, with over 100 million customer miles driven and  more than 50 employees in three states. In 2018, the Northeast Clean Energy Council named XL the Emerging Clean Energy Company of the Year, and XL’s plug-in hybrid electric drive system was named one of TIME Magazine's best inventions of 2019.

This was all made possible because of targeted, strategic support and much-needed capital – the exact kind of support MassCEC was structured to provide.  While we are immensely proud of XL Hybrids, there are hundreds of other clean energy startups that have benefited from MassCEC’s support over the last decade, growing, leveraging private investments, acquiring customers and commercializing climate solutions, while helping the Commonwealth meet its clean energy and climate goals.

As we enter 2020 and consider the challenges ahead as the Commonwealth works to meet its long-term greenhouse gas reduction targets and prevent the worst impacts of climate change, it is important to reflect on the progress we’ve made.

As MassCEC celebrates its 10th anniversary, we are as proud as ever to serve the vibrant clean energy sector here in the Commonwealth - from homeowners to business owners who are working towards building the clean energy industry, to the communities adopting groundbreaking technologies, to the companies pursuing cutting-edge developments in innovation. MassCEC has the privilege of working with these stakeholders every day in pursuit of a cleaner, more resilient, more cost effective energy portfolio for cities and towns across the Massachusetts.

Since 2010, MassCEC has provided over $360 million in funding in direct support to residents, businesses, communities, and clean energy companies throughout the Commonwealth. This funding has advanced new technologies, stood up markets, and helped the state reduce its carbon emissions.

Over 10 years, MassCEC has:

  • Awarded over 3,600 internships at 467 unique employers. over 7,000 students total have been impacted by our programs
  • Supported over 46,000 clean energy systems for residents and businesses
  • Provided $60 million in direct support of low-moderate income residents
  • Supported over 5,328 loans for solar systems totaling $170 million in loan value
  • Leveraged over $2 billion in private capital

Massachusetts as a state has made tremendous progress. Clean energy is a $14 billion industry, with an 86% increase in clean energy jobs since 2010, with over 110,000 total workers in the state’s clean energy industry.

In the last year, the Commonwealth has been recognized:

  • #1 most efficient state in the country for nine years in a row by ACEEE
  • #2 most innovative state in the U.S. by the Bloomberg Innovation Index
  • #1 in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for two years in a row by USGBC
  • #2 in cleantech leadership for five years in a row by Clean Edge

To celebrate all of this progress – as we look forward to the next 10 years – MassCEC will over the coming year celebrate all of the tremendous success achieved over the last decade. We will showcase the great achievements throughout the industry, including startups like XL Hybrids, interns who have found careers in the clean energy industry, and communities that have adopted clean energy technologies.

Mostly, we will celebrate our partners throughout the industry, for constantly pursuing the next great advancement in clean energy, and for establishing Massachusetts as a national leader in clean energy. We look forward to celebrating a decade of clean energy leadership in the Commonwealth and working with you all to build on this incredible progress in the decade to come.