The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) announced today the launch of the Community Solar Marketplace website at risolarmarketplace.com, which educates Rhode Island residents about the benefits of community solar and provides a single place for visitors to preview the growing list of community solar projects in development and subscribe to them.
“To achieve a decarbonized energy future, it is vital that we find innovative ways to connect all Rhode Islanders to clean and affordable energy solutions. Community solar is one tool to do just that,” said Nicholas S. Ucci, State Energy Commissioner. “The new Community Solar Marketplace website will help link local residents – including those who cannot install solar on their rooftops, renters, and condo owners – to the benefits of locally generated solar power, while shrinking their carbon footprint and supporting local clean energy jobs.”
The Rhode Island Community Solar Marketplace website is organized into several sections that educate visitors about the opportunities to get involved with community solar, including a description of how community solar works, a database of all the community solar projects completed and in progress, subscription information, and frequently asked questions.
Rhode Island’s first community solar project, Broncos Highway Solar, went online in Burrillville in September 2019. Currently, 715 National Grid customers have subscribed to the project and will receive about a ten percent savings on their electricity bill. Due to high demand, most projects now under development are expected to reach their subscription capacity before they go into operation.
The Rhode Island Community Remote Net Metering Pilot Program, created in 2016, focuses on providing renewable energy benefits and reducing costs for participating residential customers. Community solar is unique because it makes solar available to a range of residents who have never previously had access to solar, including customers who have a high electricity burden. OER is especially interested in finding ways to use community solar to reduce energy costs for low-and-moderate-income households.
The Community Solar Marketplace was made possible through an award from the US Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office to the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) and six states. The states, including Rhode Island, are developing and implementing strategies for bringing the benefits of solar to low-and-moderate-income residents.
“The Community Solar Marketplace will be a useful, long-lasting, consumer education tool to help Rhode Island continue to expand access to solar energy,” noted CESA Executive Director Warren Leon.
The launch of the Community Solar Marketplace is the latest effort by the state of Rhode Island to increase renewable energy capacity and use. In March 2017, Governor Gina M. Raimondo set an ambitious goal to accelerate Rhode Island’s adoption of green energy and make the state’s energy system ten-times cleaner by the end of 2020. Today, the state is 90 percent of the way toward her goal and is on track to reach 1,000 MW of clean energy by the end of the year. Building on this success, in January 2020, Governor Raimondo signed a new executive order committing Rhode Island to meet 100 percent of its electricity demand with renewables by the end of the decade – a nation-leading initiative. Executive Order 20-01 directs the state’s Office of Energy Resources to conduct an economic and energy market analysis and develop actionable policies and programs to reach this goal.