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Rhode Island's first community solar project opens

PROVIDENCE, R.I. The Rhode Island Office of Energy recently participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the start of operations for the state's first community solar project under the Community Remote Net Metering Pilot Program. Located in Burrillville, the 3.307 megawatts (MW) community solar project was developed by ISM Solar Development of East Providence and will be operated by Nautilus Solar Energy, LLC of Summit, New Jersey. This carbon-free energy resource will provide community access to solar power without the need for subscribing homeowners and renters to install solar panels themselves.

"Today, we are celebrating the launch of the first community solar project in Rhode Island, which makes affordable solar power accessible to more people," said State Energy Commissioner Carol Grant. "The state's community solar program allows most Rhode Islanders, who want to reduce their carbon emissions but who cannot install solar panels on their own homes, to purchase solar power at a rate lower than what they are paying now for standard offer service. This is the first of several projects expected to come online in the months ahead, giving National Grid customers more options to switch to clean energy."

Utilizing its full-service platform, Nautilus Solar is responsible for the project management, long-term asset management, and maintenance services for the projects. Constructed by ConEd Solutions, the project was fully developed by ISM Solar Development, LLC, a leading and innovative national solar developer, and is 100 percent subscribed with over 700 residential customers through Arcadia Power.

"It is exciting to be a part of this first step for community solar in Rhode Island and to continue the great work of ISM Solar," said Nautilus Solar CEO, Jim Rice. "These projects symbolize Nautilus's commitment to provide easy access to community solar for customers across Rhode Island."

"Our team is excited to bring this historic project online for the state of Rhode Island," Greg Lucini, CEO of ISM Solar Development, LLC said. "Thanks to the hard work of so many we are able to celebrate a solar energy success that will benefit our entire community."

Officially opened in August 2019, the ground-mounted fixed installation will produce 145 gigawatt hours (GWh) over 35 years. The energy generated by the project will directly benefit qualified residential off-takers situated within National Grid's service territory by providing energy cost savings while also advancing Rhode Island's overall renewable energy goals.

"The goal of community solar has always been to make it possible for anyone to access clean energy savings, but the user experience has traditionally been anything but seamless," said Kiran Bhatraju, CEO of Arcadia Power. "We're thrilled to be celebrating the completion of this project by ISM Solar and Nautilus, and to be providing hassle-free community solar to Arcadia Power members in Rhode Island."

The Rhode Island Community Remote Net Metering Pilot Program, created in 2016, focuses on providing renewable energy benefits and reducing costs for its residential customers. Community solar is unique because it offers a hassle-free way for residential customers to adopt solar energy by subscribing to a local project. Residents who had previously been unable to participate in solar energy due to their own site constraints can now enroll with zero upfront cost and without the need to install a system on their home.

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