Renewable Energy Technology Incentives in Rhode Island | The Renewable Energy Hub USA

Renewable Energy Technology Incentives in Rhode Island


The small state of Rhode Island has a number of renewable energy technology incentives in place to help residential and commercial citizens take advantage of green resources. The Renewable Portfolio Standard set in 2004 aims to provide 16% of energy from renewables by 2019 and has seen more focus in the state on technologies such as solar and wind over the last few years.

Solar itself has increased from next to nothing at the beginning of the decade to 15 MW of total capacity across the state and a number of large corporations have made the move to power their stores and factories through this technology. Rhode Island, because of its size, has limited potential for large scale solar farms, but residential and commercial installations are increasing. There are only 26 solar companies in the state, employing under 300 workers.

Despite its limited land resources, Rhode Island is progressing with the first experimental off shore wind farm at Deepwater with a capacity of 30 MW. The project was expected to extend to neighbour Massachusetts but problems with legislation has led to Rhode Island going ahead alone for the moment. The future for the state may be about tidal technology and a project run by Brown University could hold the key to harnessing wave power in the area.

Solar PV Incentives in Rhode Island

Solar PV installations benefit from the 30% Federal Tax Rebate though the state suffers from higher installation costs than most other areas of the US which have affected uptake. Net metering is in place and installers can take advantage of the performance based incentive the Renewable Energy Growth Program as well as corporate tax credits and low cost loans and grants including Small-Scale Solar Grants aimed at commercial, residential and installers. Despite the higher costs than in other states, the installation of solar PV is still a cost effective renewable solution with a decent return on  investment.

Solar PV Case Study in Rhode Island

Rhode Island allows you to buy outright or to lease from a third party (where you get free installation but hand over the value of any incentives that are available). The average cost of a 5 kW array is substantially higher than in other states at $25,000 but prices should come down fairly quickly over the next few years. The Federal Tax Rebate of 30% can be applied and with other incentives you can expect to pay off any loan within 14 years, leaving you with a profit over 25 years of around $19,000 which is favourable compared to other states. You should also be adding an equivalent amount to the sale value of your property.

Solar Thermal Incentives in Rhode Island

Solar thermal is a cheap alternative to heating water and is popular across the US. Small-Scale Solar Grants are available and apply to thermal and you can access low cost loan facilities such as the Energy Revolving Loan Fund which is aimed at commercial and non-profit organizations.

Small Hydro Incentives in Rhode Island

The state only has one hydroelectric plant at Bridge Mill on the Seekonk River. There isn’t much provision for small hydro in Rhode Island but it is eligible for both the Renewable Energy Growth Program and Commercial Scale Renewable Energy Grants for both commercial and residential installations. There is some capacity for development particularly for remote areas but it is not a priority for the state’s legislators.

Geothermal Incentives in Rhode Island

Geothermal, particularly technologies such as ground source heat pumps, are becoming more popular across the US. Installations benefit from corporate and residential tax exemptions and credits and installers can access the Energy Revolving Loan Fund. If you have the right kind of property that has a sufficient level of insulation and the outdoor space to bury the pump pipe network, it provides a good return on investment.

Biomass Incentives in Rhode Island

Rhode Island imports most of its biomass and has one 3.2 MW biogas plant in Johnston though green energy campaigners have complained that the technology is not as eco-friendly as many say. Installers of larger biomass boilers and wood chip burners can access Commercial-Scale Renewable-Energy Grants.

Wind Power Incentives in Rhode Island

Most wind power initiatives in the state have been limited to off shore as there isn’t the land capacity to build large scale wind farms. Installations do benefit from the Federal Tax Rebate and other tax incentives, though planning permission and available space may be something of a problem.

The future of renewable technology for Rhode Island is going to depend on off shore wind and small scale solar with the possibility of tidal energy production coming on board once the industry develops. There are a number of incentives in place, particularly to promote solar PV installation which will need to be taken up more if the state is going to reach its RPS of 19%.

You can find out more about renewable energy incentives for Rhode Island on the DSIRE web portal

Press Esc to close
Press Esc to close