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Clean Energy Communities

Local governments in New York State can use the NYSERDA Clean Energy Communities program to implement clean energy actions, save energy costs, create jobs, improve the environment, and help to build a more sustainable New York. In addition to providing tools, resources, grants, and technical assistance, the program recognizes and rewards leadership for the completion of clean energy projects.


To be designated as a Clean Energy Community by New York State, a community must meet program eligibility requirements and complete at least four of the ten High Impact Actions. - A toolkit is available for each of the High Impact Actions. - Documentation for each completed High Impact Action must be submitted to NYSERDA. The designated Clean Energy Community will then be featured on NYSERDA's website an will be eligible to apply for grants to fund additional clean energy projects.


At no cost to a local government, Clean Energy Communities Coordinators are available to help local leaders to: - Develop and prioritize clean energy goals, - Access guidance resources such as legislation, procurement, and contract templates, - Take advantage of available funding and technical assistance opportunities.


Four steps to a Clean Energy Community:

  1. Connect with a Clean Energy Community Coordinator.

  2. Complete High Impact Actions to earn points towards grant opportunities.

  3. Submit Action item documentation.

  4. Apply for Grants.

High-Impact Action items (more details available here):

  • Unified Solar Permits (200 points).

  • Energy Code Enforcement Training (200 points).

  • PACE Financing (200 points).

  • Clean Energy Upgrades (500 points)

  • Clean Heating and Cooling Demonstration (500 points).

  • 100% Renewables for Municipal Operations (500 points).

  • Climate Smart Communities Certification (up to 800 points).

  • Community Campaigns (up to 800 points)  < Action Grant eligible up to $60K >.

  • LED Steetlights (up to 900 points).

  • Clean Fleets (up to 1000 points).

  • Benchmarking (up to 1100 points).

  • NYStretch Energy Code (1200 points)   < Action Grant eligible up to $50K >.

  • Community Choice Aggregation (2000 points).


Points-based grant opportunities:

Types of Grants available:

  • Designation Grants:  Available to communities that complete four high-impact actions.
    • A one-time $5,000 grant is available to communities that earned Clean Energy Community designation but did not receive a previous designation grant prior to January 16th, 2021.
  • Point-based Grants:  When a community earns enough points by completing high-impact action items to cross certain point thresholds (see table above), they become eligible for larger grant amounts.​
  • Action Grants:  
    • Available for the NYStretch Energy Code item if the high-impact action item has been successfully completed and the local law or ordinance applying the Stretch Code is adopted and becomes effective no later than December 31, 2021. The grant amount is $5,000 for communities of less than 40,000 population, $50,000 for those with 50,000 or more.
    • Available for the one or more Community Campaigns, if the Campaign is completed and receives NYSERDA approval.
      • Community Campaign for Community Solar (200 points).​
      • Community Campaign for Electric Vehicles (200 points).
      • Community Campaign for Clean Heating & Cooling and Energy Efficiency (200 points).
      • Community Campaign for Demand Response (200 points).

Each grant amount is $5,000 for communities of less than 40,000 population with at least 10 campaign participants, $15,000 for those with 50,000 or more with at least 25 participants.

Detailed guidance for the Clean Energy Communities program is available here.

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