Grants for solar in Rhode Island over for the year

The small-scale solar Renewable Energy Fund grant program is now over for the year. The fund was administered by the Economic Development Corp. this year, but the fund may move over to the Office of Energy Resources for next year. There may be quite a bit of funds left over from this year’s program that will go into next year’s program, as well as the funding that is already designated for the fund.

The grant program this year was a great success, but with funds left over, more people could have taken advantage. The solar grant program next year may not take the shape of a grant, but may be a dollar-per-watt incentive or a production-based incentive, we will have to wait and see. The grant this year was for 25% of the system cost on systems up to 10kW and 20% off on systems 10kW-50kW. A dollar-per-watt incentive would urge people to install larger systems thereby offsetting more of their electricity usage.

With the heat waves we’re experiencing, National Grid is having a hard time keeping up with afternoon spikes in electricity usage with all of the air conditioners ramping up. Homes with solar produce their own power during these times and reduce the need for extra power from the grid. Germany has so much solar installed that their peak load times and demand from the grid have been flattened by the electricity produced by the solar systems during the day. This synergy between grid peak demand and solar peak production could be an answer for all utilities struggling to keep up with demand during their peak load times.

National Grid sponsors Energy Efficiency days, workshops and Home Energy Assessments to teach people how to use less electricity during peak load times. It costs less for them to teach people to use less electricity than it does for them to ramp up production and update and increase the size of their infrastructure. Either way, the cost is placed directly on rate payers because National Grid is guaranteed to make a certain profit by law. This makes an even stronger case for funding solar in RI.

Solar is as reliable as the sunrise. With no moving parts, no noise and no shadow/flicker effect, a properly installed PV system will produce reliable electricity for decades. Make sure your solar contractor is properly trained in installing PV systems. One way to be sure is to only hire a NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners) Certified PV installation Professional. NABCEP certification is a voluntary, rigorous certification process to determine that the installer has had the proper education and training and has the experience necessary to install a safe and reliable system that will produce all the electricity that it can. Newport Solar has a NABCEP certified installer overseeing every design and installation.

We will continue to perform free site analyses and cost estimates for people interested in installing solar, but we will also advise waiting to see what incentives will be available in the near future.



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