Governor Lincoln D. Chafee announced today that he has signed a law that removes barriers that were prohibitive to the growth of renewable energy businesses in Rhode Island.
The legislation sets up a new designation of Renewable Energy Professional (REP). Additionally, it clarifies the differences between the roles of REPs and licensed master electricians working on a renewable energy installation.
"In addition to helping us achieve our climate goals through renewable energy development, this legislation will create good jobs for renewable energy professionals and electricians here in the state," Governor Chafee said. "I have consistently supported programs that promote cost-effective energy and green jobs in Rhode Island. By enacting these kinds of laws, we are sending a message beyond our borders that Rhode Island is a great place to live and work."
"This legislation removes significant regulatory barriers," Senator William A. Walaska said. "It helps with the cost of doing business, which will bring down the cost of renewable energy. It provides a jolt to help the renewable energy industry grow and create jobs in Rhode Island."
"Renewable energy is a market that still has so much potential for growth," Representative Katherine S. Kazarian said. "With this new license available, it's going to open up new possibilities for this emerging profession and, in turn, encourage more people to seek out ways to incorporate renewable energy strategies into their daily lives and businesses. Creating green jobs is wonderful for our economy in so many ways: We're putting people back to work, but we're also protecting our environment and decreasing our reliance on foreign oil. Renewable energy initiatives are also responsible for bringing more money to the table for investing in other things we care about, such as education, economic development and health care."
A broad array of concerned parties supported and testified in favor of the legislation, including the Environmental Council of Rhode Island, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the Rhode Island Buildings Association and the New England Clean Energy Council.
"Making it easier to do business in Rhode Island is imperative to growing the state's economy," Marcel A. Valois, Executive Director of Commerce RI, said. "By reducing barriers for solar installers, there is more opportunity to decrease installation costs and increase demand. Through increased demand businesses and homeowners will have greater opportunity to install solar and decrease electrical costs."
The Office of Energy Resources in the Rhode Island Department of Administration will partner with the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training to develop the process for determining qualification for and issuing Certificates of Competency in the Design and Installation of Renewable Energy Systems.
"Making it easier to do business in Rhode Island is imperative to growing the state's economy," Marcel A. Valois, Executive Director of Commerce RI, said. "By reducing barriers for solar installers, there is more opportunity to decrease installation costs and increase demand. Through increased demand, businesses will have a greater opportunity to install solar and decrease electrical costs."
For more information on House Bill No. 8200 SUB A/Senate Bill No. 2692 SUB A, contact: Chris Kearns, 401-787-4748 or Christopher.Kearns@energy.ri.gov.