Commerce RI Partners to Lower Costs of Solar Power in Rhode Island

Tuesday, September 02, 2014


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The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation (Commerce RI), the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) and non-profit marketing firm SmartPower have announced the launch of Solarize Rhode Island.

Solarize Rhode Island

This is a municipal-based program aimed at providing opportunities for installation of rooftop solar energy at lower costs. Over the next nine months, this program will be piloted across North Smithfield, Tiverton, and Little Compton. Commerce RI and OER will jointly administer the program and work with SmartPower to manage projects within the pilot municipalities.

Rooftop solar energy

Solarize will focus on reducing the costs of installing rooftop solar energy. The program will rely on a few key components to reduce solar installation costs, including: a) a competitively-selected installer in each town; b) a tiered pricing system and time-limited offer to incentivize greater participation; and c) community-based marketing. Solarize is based on a successful model run in more than 90 cities and towns in Connecticut and Massachusetts installing more than 16 MW of capacity,

“Through this partnership, we’ll be able to work with municipalities to offer solar installations at lower costs, while helping to expand the renewable energy sector as a growing source of jobs and economic activity in Rhode Island,” said Marcel A. Valois, Executive Director of Commerce RI. “With greater adoption of solar energy, we hope to leverage the Solarize program to continue to provide Commerce RI’s Renewable Energy Fund resources to support more renewable energy projects around the state.”

“We are so pleased to be offering this innovative, yet proven program in Rhode Island’” noted Dr. Marion Gold, Commissioner of the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources “Rooftop solar is a vital piece of Rhode Island’s energy vision, and this program will help us achieve those goals while lowering overall system costs, supporting municipalities and the growing renewable energy professional industry in the state.”

Two phases

The initial pilot will run in two phases, with North Smithfield kicking off Phase I in fall 2014. Phase II in Little Compton and Tiverton, will formally begin after the New Year. The partnership will determine whether and how to expand the program to more municipalities after this round is completed in summer 2015.

“What a perfect way to celebrate the end of summer - with the launch of Solarize, Rhode Island,” said Brian F. Keane, President of SmartPower.  “Solar just makes sense for Rhode Island, and we’re excited to work in partnership with the Office of Energy Resources, Commerce RI and the John Merck Fund to bring Solarize to the Ocean State.”


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