EmPower Massachusetts

The Challenge: Prioritize Underserved Populations in our Clean Energy Future

Low-income Massachusetts households spend a disproportionately high percentage of their income on energy, while renters, low-income, and non-English-speaking households are less likely to use energy efficiency incentives. Similarly, solar adoption lags for renters and minority communities. And yet, all residents need and deserve to be part of our collective clean energy future.

About EmPower Massachusetts

EmPower Massachusetts offers multiple stages of investment in communities and community-based organizations so that they can explore, develop, and implement program models or projects that provide access to the benefits of clean energy for previously underserved populations. This MassCEC program crowd-sources new and innovative ideas, then helps put them into action. EmPower offers funding to meet the following goals:

  • Build organizational capacity & explore innovative solutions ($5,000 to $50,000 grants)
  • Implement solutions ($50,000 to $300,000 grants)
Award Potential

$300,000 (Priority Track Implementation)

$150,000 (Non-Priority Track Implementation)

$50,000 (Innovation & Capacity Building)

Application Deadline

Innovation and Capacity Building: Rolling through April 3, 2024

Implementation: October 18, 2023 and April 3, 2024

Questions? Contact

How Do I Get Started?

Not sure where to begin? Start with this list of recommendations and the associated table of contents to learn more! 

  • Review program goals (above)
  • Review EmPower Grant Opportunities & Funding Schedule
  • Discover Who’s Eligible
  • Watch the FY24 Program Overview video under Workshops, Office Hours, & Videos
  • Get connected! To register for virtual office hours visit Workshops, Office Hours, & Videos; to set up a call or join our Slack channel, visit our Resources and Support Section 
  • New to clean energy? Review our Clean Energy 101 Primer and our additional Resources and Support
  • Check out what other awardees are doing.  View the Awardee Map, read our EmPower Blog, or see our expanded Awardees & Projects page.



EmPower Grant Opportunities

Innovation and Capacity-Building Grants

  • Innovation and Capacity Building Grants are "seed" funding for the exploration of innovative ideas for potential program models or projects, including the opportunity to build community or organizational capacity.
  • Among other purposes, this funding could be used for
    • staff time devoted to program concept development or refinement
    • technical studies needed to move projects forward
    • costs for a grant-writer, accountant, lawyer, or other professional services
    • community engagement expenses
  • Learn more about capacity-building from the National Council on Non-Profits
  • Grant range: $5,000-$25,000 (up to $50,000 in some cases)

Implementation Grants

  • Implementation grants provide funding to implement community-based programs or projects that increase the access to the benefits of clean energy to and/or reduce energy burden on previously underserved population priority groups.
  • Applications should identify specific goals and outcomes for energy access for the targeted priority population.
  • Grant range: $50,000-$150,000 (up to $300,000 for Energy Coach/Ambassador and Technical Assistance Provider modeled projects; see Request for Proposals [RFPs] for more details)

See what the awardees from our previous funding round are doing!

Funding Schedule

MassCEC will be accepting applications for both grant opportunities through April 3, 2024. Innovation & Capacity Building applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, and Implementation applications will be reviewed in two groups. See the table to the right for more information.


Fall 2023 & Spring 2024 Schedule

Process Step

Innovation & Capacity Building


Application period opens

August 10, 2023

August 10, 2023

Application deadlines

Rolling through April 3, 2024

Priority Review Deadlines: October 18, 2023, January 18, 2024, and April 3, 2024 

October 18, 2023 and April 3, 2024 

Interviews (when applicable)

Within a month of application deadline

Within a month of application deadline

Awards announced

Approximately 6-8 weeks after review deadlines, unless an expedited review is requested 

Within 2-3 months of each deadline 

Who's Eligible

MassCEC seeks a wide variety of applicants/participants, such as

  • Community-based organizations (CBOs), non-profits, and individuals
  • Federally Recognized and State-Acknowledged Tribes
  • Municipalities (including those with municipal electric departments/companies)*
  • Clean energy installers/implementers*
  • Financial institutions*

We also encourage (and can help facilitate) beneficial partnerships.
All applicants that do not have a history of working with Priority Groups must apply with at least one partner that does

For full Program details, please refer to the two Requests for Proposals (RFPs), below.


Application Process

  1. Review both RFPs to understand the Program and opportunities.
  2. (Optional but encouraged) Attend our informational webinars, participate in a workshop, and/or use other informational resources offered. See more information below regarding the resources MassCEC offers potential Applicants.
  3. (Optional but encouraged) Contact MassCEC to discuss your idea(s).  Seek input or support via email (empower@masscec.com) or visit the MassCEC EmPower Slack workspace.  See more information below on the support MassCEC may be able to offer, including a one-time review of your submission.
  4. (Optional) Submit a draft Application to MassCEC by the relevant Pre-Application Review Deadline listed in Section 5 of the RFP and receive feedback from MassCEC within two weeks.
  5. Reach out to MassCEC to indicate and discuss interest in any in-kind technical services from MassCEC (as described in Section 5 of the RFP).
  6. Download and complete Attachment 1 for the relevant grant opportunity.  
  7. If applying via Microsoft document, download and complete Attachment 2. Submit Attachments 1 and 2 by email to the EmPower Mass team at empower@masscec.com with "FY24 EmPower Mass Innovation and Capacity Building Grant Application" or "FY24 EmPower Mass Implementation Grant Application" in the subject line. If completing the application online, complete your application using Jotform at the links below; at the end, you will be prompted to upload Attachment 1. 
    1. Both application formats include confirming review of Attachment 3: EmPower Mass FY24 Template Implementation or Innovation & Capacity Building Grant Agreement. 

Contact us at: empower@masscec.com

Office Hours, Workshops, and Overview Video

The EmPower team hosted Participant Workshops to introduce the program, facilitate networking among potential applicants, and have attendees share project/program ideas for discussion and feedback. Check out the slides from these workshops and a video overview of the program presented at the workshops:

Resources and Support

We know there are many ways to approach these opportunities and want to ensure you have access to resources that support whichever challenge you are tackling or opportunity you are pursuing.

Key Resources

Get connected, stay engaged, ask questions

Speak with us:

Please contact us at empower@masscec.com with any questions or to set up a call with the EmPower team.

Join our Slack channel:

The EmPower Slack channel is a great space for networking and collaboration between organizations. We will also be posting programmatic updates on this channel. Continue the conversation on Slack!

Additional Resources

Learn more about clean energy programs and incentives to discover the technology(ies) best suited to your potential program
Learn more about Massachusetts Environmental Justice (EJ) policy


What if my organization does not have experience with clean energy? 

Experience with clean energy or related topics is not a requirement under the program. We encourage community-based organizations that don’t have this experience to apply to the program. Please reach out to us so that we can determine what kind of assistance or education we can provide and include these details on future applications.

How can I determine if the population I’d like to support through my program idea is a Priority Group population?

The for the FY22 Program (now closed), the following populations were considered population Priority Groups; although these criteria are subject to change, we anticipate they will be the same for the FY23 round. 

  • “Environmental Justice Populations” as defined by the Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Environmental Justice Policy. https://www.mass.gov/service-details/environmental-justice-policy
  • “Environmental Justice (EJ) Population” means a neighborhood where 25 percent of the households have an annual median household income that is equal to or less than 65 percent of the statewide median income, or 25% of its population is Minority or identifies as household that has English Isolation. 
  • “Minority” refers to individuals who identify themselves as Latino/Hispanic, Black/African American, Asian, Indigenous people, and people who otherwise identify as non-white.
  • “Low-income” means median household income at or below 65 percent of the statewide median income for Massachusetts, according to federal census data.  
  • “English isolation” refers to households that are English Language Isolated according to federal census forms, or do not have an adult over the age of 14 who speaks only English or speaks English very well. 
  • Renters (primarily residential)
  • Communities or individuals disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, by the fossil-fuel based energy system, or other environmental hazards. 

Two possible ways to qualify your population are to

  1. review the updated Environmental Justice Map Viewer; or
  2. review this updated document which outlines communities and their percentage of EJ census block groups.

Your application narrative can explain how you have used these tools or otherwise determined a group's eligibility.

Does my non-profit/community-based organization have to have 501c3 status to be considered eligible? 

No! Non-profits and other community-based organizations (or individuals) are listed as an eligible type of applicant, but that does not mean your organization needs formal 501c3 status.

Potential applicants who do not have the ability to hire staff or receive funds should consider forming a partnership with another group that can act as a fiscal agent. If you need assistance in finding a fiscal agent, contact MassCEC to see if we can help. 

Past Awardees

Explore the 80+ exciting projects supported by MassCEC's EmPower Massachusetts in the first two rounds of the program.  Read the press release from the first round, and check out the map below.  On the map, you can use the +/- buttons to zoom in, use your mouse to pan, and use the scrollbar at the right to see the full list of awardees. Click on the awardee's name or location pin to get more information about their project, including excerpts from their application.

Note: The points depicted on the map locate the address of the lead organization for each project, and are not necessarily representative of the area(s) in which the projects themselves are operating. The Project location listed for each project provides this information.

Additional Funding Opportunities