R.I. Energy Fund Awards Eight Solar Grants

By TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff

Two farms, a real-estate office, a jewelry maker and an animal hospital are among the latest recipients of state grants for new solar projects. The funds are awarded by the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund (REF) and were approved by Commerce RI at its Feb. 23 meeting.

The REF is financed by utility customers through the system-benefit charge on electric bills. Power plants also pay into the REF through renewable-energy compliance payments.

In all, $1,137,000 was recently awarded to eight solar projects:

$321,300 to NATCO Home Furnishings of West Warwick for a 522-kilowatt rooftop array. The grant pays for 28 percent of the $1,525,699 project. EES Consulting of Marlborough, Mass., is the developer.

$314,100 to the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority in Jamestown for a 504-kilowatt ground-mounted solar array. The grant covers 26 percent of the $1,209,600 project. The developer is Econox Group Inc. of Winchester, Mass.

$227,868 to costume-jewelry manufacturer The Bazar Group of East Providence for a 288-kilowatt roof-mounted solar array. The grant funds 20 percent of the $1,124,838 project. US SolarWorks of Attleboro, Mass., is the developer.

$152,100 to Supreme Mid-Atlantic Corporation, a manufacturer of truck bodies, for a 153-kilowatt ground-mounted solar array. The project is on a former Superfund site in Burrillville. The grant covers 31 percent of the $485,000 project. Econox Group Inc. is the developer.

$75,100 to Knight Farm in Scituate for 67.6-kilowatt solar array. The grant covers 37.5 percent of the $200,000 project. The developer is E2SOL of East Greenwich.

$22,137 to Fox Hill Farm in Jamestown for a 19.25-kilowatt roof-mounted solar project. The grant covers 25 percent of the $87,162 project. The developer is Newport Solar.

$12,558 to the West Greenwich Animal Hospital for a 10.92-kilowatt roof-mounted solar array. The grant covers 29 percent of the $43,700 project. Newport Renewables is the developer.

$12,017 to Greenley Horizon Realty of Jamestown for a 10.92-kilowatt rooftop solar array. The grant covers 28 percent of the $43,295 project. The developer is Newport Solar.

Renewable study
Commerce RI also approved $40,000 for a study of Rhode Island’s renewable-energy sector. The report will focus on the size and scope of the industry, education and training needs, as well input from industry executives regarding the local business climate.  

This clean-energy sector includes businesses involved with renewable energy, energy efficiency, non-fossil fuel transportation and carbon management.

The study, awarded to BW Research Partnership of Wrentham, Mass, is expected to influence programs and incentives offered through the REF and the Office of Energy Resources. The report is due in one year.