Nearly $90,000 Awarded for Renewable Energy Investments
PROVIDENCE - The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), in partnership with the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources and the Rhode Island Resource Conservation & Development Area Council, today announced $89,755 in grants to help farmers "green" their operations and save energy and money. The awards, funded through the Rhode Island Farm Energy Program (RIFEP), will support solar projects at seven local farms across the state.
"I am thrilled to announce these awards, which are a win for our environment and for our farmers," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "What an excellent example of the role each of us can play in strengthening our climate resilience and promoting healthier communities. Rhode Island is charting a bold course in clean energy, which is exciting and vital. We must continue to invest in our green economy for the benefit of our state, our environment, and our families. Congratulations to our grant recipients and to all partners involved in this effort."
Funded projects include:
Barden Family Orchard, North Scituate - $17,000 Installation of a 39 kW roof-mount solar photovoltaic system that will offset power used by the agricultural operation, which includes multiple storage coolers.
Earth Care Farm, Charlestown - $20,000 Installation of a 15.6 kW solar photovoltaic system that will offset power used by the farm's composting and agricultural operation.
Goodwin Brothers Farm, North Smithfield - $15,000 Installation of a 10.54 kW roof-mount solar photovoltaic system that will offset power used by farm stand display coolers, two walk-in storage coolers, and two greenhouse furnaces.
Grandin Landscapes and Supply, South Kingstown - $8,000 Installation of a 13.2 kW roof-mount solar photovoltaic system that will offset power used by the garden center and greenhouses.
Planeview Farm, West Kingston - $8,120 Installation of a 5.8 kW roof-mount solar photovoltaic system that will offset power used by farm operations and thermostatically-controlled outdoor water heaters.
Seven Cedars Farm, Smithfield - $6,635 Installation of a 7.2 kW solar photovoltaic system that will offset power used by agricultural operations.
The Good Earth Organic Gardening Center, Hope - $15,000 Installation of an 8.64 kW roof-mount solar photovoltaic system that will offset power used by the garden center and farm operations.
"Farmers are in a great position to take advantage of recent advancements solar technology," said State Energy Commissioner Carol Grant. "Solar panels have become cheaper and more powerful, with shorter payback periods, allowing farmers to offset more of the energy they use for their operations and save money in the long-term. It's good for their business and our environment."
DEM continues to work across many fronts to strengthen Rhode Island's green economy and assist local farmers in growing their businesses. Rhode Island is one of few states nationally where the number of farms is on the rise. There are more than 1,200 sprinkled across the state, a 44 percent increase since 2002. The state's green industries account for more than 15,000 jobs and contribute $2.5 billion to the economy each year. Last year, $52,245 was awarded under the RIFEP's initial grant round; the awards supported renewable energy and energy efficiency projects at Harmony Hill Farm in Glocester, Red Planet Vegetable Farm in Johnston, and Pat's Pastured in East Greenwich. Funding for RIFEP is made possible through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow DEM on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) or Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM for timely updates.