The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) Board of Directors approved $184,334 to seven companies in the first round of 2013 grant funding through the Renewable Energy Fund (REF). The projects support solar photovoltaic systems that will produce electricity in a cleaner, more sustainable manner and contribute to greener homes and businesses.
"By using our assets wisely, we as a state can work to put Rhode Island at the forefront of energy sustainability and affordability," Governor Lincoln Chafee said. "Through funding from the Renewable Energy Fund, as well as the efforts of the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy, we are making progress to put Rhode Island on a path to greater energy independence."
"With the first deployment of grants under the new Rules and Regulations for the Renewable Energy Fund approved by the RIEDC Board in December, we are supporting some exciting projects that will strengthen the state's leadership in renewable energy," said Jerauld Adams, Vice-Chair of the RIEDC Board and President of North American Industries.
Funding was awarded to commercial and small-scale solar energy projects to help businesses increase their energy independence and to bolster the renewable energy industry in Rhode Island.
The two grant recipients for commercial projects are National Security Corporation and Clem's Electric, both of which will generate enough energy through the systems to cover 100 percent of their electricity needs. National Security is headquartered in East Providence, R.I., and sells, services, designs, and installs fire, security, CCTV, and access security systems.
Headquartered in Bristol, R.I., Clem's Electric serves both residential and commercial electric customers. They have become experts in energy efficiency for commercial properties and low-income housing. By installing the solar system, Clem's will not only expand their business to provide renewable energy services, but they will be able to use the project installation as hands-on training for their employees.
Four of the small-scale solar energy grant recipients are local residential and commercial solar and construction companies; the fifth is a local developer of moderate- and low-income housing. The solar energy systems being installed by all five recipients will generate enough power to cover 100 percent of the project owners' electricity consumption.
The REF received a total of 10 applications for the 2013 first round of funding.
Summary of REF Grant Awards
Round 1 Commercial Projects
- National Security Corporation, East Providence, R.I. - $28,250. To help design, procure, and construct a 39.76 kW rooftop solar system on a National Security's building in East Providence
- Clem's Electric, Bristol, R.I. - $27,390. To help install a 32.76 kW solar photovoltaic system on Clem's Electric headquarters in Bristol
Round 1 Small-Scale Solar Projects
- Newport Solar, Newport, R.I. -- $13,197. To help design and install a total of 11.7 kW of solar photovoltaic on five residential properties
- Real Goods Solar, Providence, R.I .-- $26,388. To help design and install a total of 19.845 kW of solar photovoltaic on four residential properties
- US Solar Works, Attleboro, MA -- $22,644. To help design and install a total of 18.5 kW of solar photovoltaic on three residential properties in Rhode Island
- Church Community Housing, Newport, R.I. -- $34,596. To help build four net-zero homes in Tiverton, with each containing an 8.95 kW solar photovoltaic array
- Entech Engineering, Block Island, R.I. -- $31,869. To help design and install four solar photovoltaic systems on Block Island. Three systems will be for residences with a battery back-up, and one will be located at a new wool textile mill on the island. This award is pending Block Island's designation from the Public Utilities Commission as an eligible jurisdiction for Rhode Island Renewable Energy funds.
The RIEDC Board approved new Rules and Regulations for the REF in December 2012 that provide enhanced structure and transparency to the fund. The new REF regulations outline the following four program areas for funding:
- Small-scale solar
- Commercial project funding
- Early-stage commercialization
- Pre-development feasibility studies