North Smithfield today became the first Rhode Island Community to embrace and launch the "Solarize" residential solar energy campaign. Solarize Rhode Island is a program created through a partnership of The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation (Commerce RI), the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER), and non-profit marketing firm SmartPower.
"Through this partnership, we'll be able to work with municipalities to offer solar installations at lower costs, while helping to expand the renewable energy sector as a growing source of jobs and economic activity in Rhode Island," said Marcel A. Valois, Executive Director of Commerce RI. "With greater adoption of solar energy, we hope to leverage the Solarize program to continue to provide Commerce RI's Renewable Energy Fund resources to support more renewable energy projects around the state."
Solarize North Smithfield is based on a proven residential solar model designed to reduce the cost of solar and make it a strong financial decision for homes and businesses. Solarize relies on four key components to reduce solar installation costs, including: a) a competitively-selected installer; b) a tiered pricing system; c) community-based outreach and marketing; and d) a solid "end date" to encourage participation.
Prior to today's launch, Solarize North Smithfield completed its installer selection process and chose RGS Energy as its official Solarize installer.
"We are very excited to be launching this program here in North Smithfield, said Paulette Hamilton, Town Administrator. "Our residents and businesses are all looking for smart ways to reduce costs. Solar is not only good for their pocketbooks, it's good for our community. We have already been getting great reaction to the program, as the community hears that Solarize is coming." Showing exemplary support for the program, the North Smithfield Town Council recently passed a 20-year municipal tax exemption on residential and commercial rooftop Photovoltaic (PV) systems.
The launch of Solarize North Smithfield took place today at National Marker headquarters. National Marker Company is set to install solar on its rooftop this fall through the help of a grant by Commerce RI's Renewable Energy Fund. Both homes and businesses are a focus of the Solarize Rhode Island campaign.
Michael Black, President of National Marker said, "We are very happy to be part of the launch of Solarize RI, and excited that North Smithfield is the first town to participate. As a resident and business owner this will allow us to shrink our energy footprint, and help to create a cleaner environment for future generations."
Dr. Marion Gold, Commissioner of the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources also spoke at the event, "The Solarize program is a proven model to reduce the costs of solar energy. It will help homes and businesses protect themselves against rising electricity rates, while protecting the environment. This is a win-win situation for the town of North Smithfield and the state of Rhode Island."
Managing the campaign in Rhode Island is SmartPower, a national non-profit marketing and outreach organization dedicated to promoting clean energy and energy efficiency. SmartPower has been managing Solarize effort campaigns across the country.
"We couldn't be happier to be here in Rhode Island to launch this campaign in North Smithfield," said SmartPower President Brian F. Keane. "We have first-hand experience with the leadership and commitment this town has to smart energy use and we are proud to partner with Paulette Hamilton and her able team to ensure success."
About Commerce RI Commerce RI is the official economic development organization for the State of Rhode Island. Commerce RI manages the State's Renewable Energy Fund which provides grants and loans for renewable energy projects with the potential to make electricity in a cleaner, more sustainable manner, while stimulating job growth in the green technology and energy sectors of Rhode Island's economy. www.commerceri.com
About Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) is the lead state agency on energy policy and programs. OER's mission is to lead Rhode Island to a secure, cost-effective, and sustainable energy future. OER works closely with private and public stakeholders to increase the reliability and security of our energy supply, reduce energy costs and mitigate against price volatility, and improve environmental quality. www.energy.ri.gov
About SmartPower SmartPower is the nation's leading non-profit marketing firm dedicated to promoting clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. SmartPower's mission is to help Americans make smart energy choices by creating on-the-ground campaigns that turbo charge clean energy and energy efficiency efforts, engage the public and generate measurable energy actions. www.smartpower.org