Last week, Newport Solar had the honor of welcoming Governor Gina Raimondo to our office in North Kingstown. As a kick off to National Energy Awareness month, Governor Raimondo highlighted some of the great initiatives and legislation the state of Rhode Island has put in place to support renewable energy. Also in attendance, alongside the Governor, were officials from the RI Office of Energy Resources, Commerce RI, the RI Infrastructure Bank, and National Grid. Even The Newport Daily News came to report on the event!
Governor Raimondo opened with a remark her son had made at breakfast that day; “Mom, what are you doing about climate change?” This was a simple question, with a lot of answers! As many of us know, one of the key ways in which we can mitigate the effects of climate change is to reduce the usage of fossil fuels. Renewable energy technology deployment promises to reduce carbon emissions while also meeting energy demands without burning fossil fuels. Since the US Federal Government lacks a comprehensive renewable energy policy, individual states have taken up the role of implementing their own renewable energy policies. On this note, Rhode Island has made some great headway supporting renewable energy development.
Governor Raimondo recently signed some key pieces of legislation to support renewable energy development in RI. This legislation included expanding the state’s Renewable Energy Standard, extending the state’s Renewable Energy Fund, and a statewide property tax exemption for residential PV systems. Governor Raimondo also signed legislation that will allow for virtual net metering and shared solar PV systems in RI; two programs that are planned to start in 2017. Governor Raimondo has also supported the development of the RI Infrastructure Bank, which is one mechanism by which RI can offer financial support towards the development of renewable energy projects.
As Governor Raimondo noted, renewable energy policies in RI not only help us to combat climate change, but they also support our local economy. The polices that Rhode Island has put in place have helped Newport Solar to grow and in turn, help more homeowners. These policies helped create great solar incentives for homeowners in RI, making the process of going solar more affordable. As Governor Raimondo put it on Twitter, “Thanks to businesses like Newport Solar, families can sit down at their kitchen tables and see energy bills that are a little lower. That’s good for RI”
We are humbled by the praise from Governor Raimondo, and thankful for her support of the renewable energy sector within our state. In order for RI to fight climate change, there needs to be political support for renewable energy policies, and the Raimondo Administration has been an important ally. If we reflect upon our nations current election cycle, the significance of this is clear. Without a comprehensive national renewable energy policy, it seems as though the states may have to continue doing the heavy lifting on renewable energy policy within this country for quite some time.
In light of the question Governor Raimondo’s son asked, we would like to take a moment to share what Newport Solar has done to help fight climate change! Since 2009, we have installed over 200 photovoltaic systems on homes within RI, and added over 1.5MW of clean energy to the states electricity grid.