The Joe-4-SUN Project won a grand prize in the Sunny Awards

The JOE-4-SUN: Ashland project was selected as a Grand Prize winner for the Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar, an initiative of the National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP).

NCSP, a program of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), supports a coalition of stakeholders working to expand access to affordable community solar to every U.S. household and enable communities to realize meaningful benefits, such as greater household savings, low- to moderate-income (LMI) household access, increased resilience, community ownership, and equitable workforce development. NCSP is working toward a 2025 target to enable community solar to power the equivalent of 5 million households and generate a cumulative $1 billion in energy bill savings.

The Sunny Awards were launched in 2022 to recognize community solar projects and programs that employ best practices to increase equitable access to the meaningful benefits of community solar for subscribers and their communities. Meaningful benefits are key outcomes of community solar development identified by the NCSP. These community solar benefits bring positive impacts to the households, organizations, and the surrounding communities where the projects are developed and operate.

Project Overview

  • Project Name: JOE-4-SUN Ashland
  • Location: Ashland, MA
  • Project Size: 6 MW
  • Project Subscribers: 51% residential subscribers, 49% commercial anchor tenant
  • Year Energized: 2020
  • Lead Organization: Citizens Energy Corporation
  • Partner Organizations: None listed
  • Business Model: financed, owned, and operated by a third-party developer
  • State Incentives Leveraged: Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program
  • Bill savings: 50% discount to LMI households on bill credits
  • LMI access: 100% of residential subscribers are LMI

Meaningful Benefits Best Practices

The JOE-4-SUN Ashland project is 6 MW low-income community solar project located on a federal superfund site. The project serves over 500 low-to-moderate income (LMI) households, saving each household more than $400 per year on electricity costs. The project was developed, financed, and is operated by Citizens Energy Corporation.

The JOE-4-SUN Ashland project leverages the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program, a solar incentive program designed to promote solar development in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. JOE-4-SUN provides a guaranteed 50% savings on bill credits to participating LMI households, which can be verified through existing residential assistance rates, through their utility, or through living in a state-designated Environmental Justice Zone.

Citizens Energy, the project developer and owner, prioritizes making enrollment as easy as possible for households – never requiring a credit check and avoiding any sign up or cancellation fees. Beyond providing significant savings, this project used entirely union labor, supporting the creation and retention of good-paying jobs with livable wages and benefits. The JOE-4-Sun project also demonstrated innovative siting practices by locating the project on a superfund site once home to the Nyanza Chemical Waste Dump. By engaging with community members, city officials, and the Nyanza Advisory Committee throughout the development process, this project was able to offer a green future to a site notorious for its environmental harms.

Visit the JOE-4-SUN Ashland project webpage for more information. You can also contact Program Manager Tess McKenna at or Public Affairs Manager Hannah Goetz at

Learn more about the 2022 Sunny Awards and the winners.