Rhode Island electric customers of National Grid will soon have a convenient online tool to use in researching and purchasing solar energy systems for their homes and businesses.
Thanks to action taken by the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission, National Grid will now offer its customers a simplified process to research and purchase PV equipment and earn bonus solar incentives based on their energy reductions. The new program, called SolarWise Rhode Island, is part of National Grid’s 2016 Rhode Island Renewable Energy (RE) Growth Program and will be launched in the early spring.
National Grid says the RE Growth Program was developed in accordance with legislation passed in 2014 that encourages the growth of distributed generation throughout the state and was developed with consultation from the state Office of Energy Resources and the Rhode Island Distributed Generation Board.
The goal of the legislation, according to National Grid, was to increase the amount of electricity generated by customer-owned equipment by 160 MW over a five-year period – the energy equivalent to power 30,000 homes for one year.
National Grid says it is collaborating with online solar marketplace EnergySage to create the SolarWise Marketplace, where customers will be able to comparison-shop solar opportunities for their home or business and receive competitive quotes from pre-screened installers. Customers can then evaluate their multiple options to select an installer and solar financing package that best suits their needs. Owners of existing structures and those planning new construction will both be eligible to participate.
“The program is consistent with Governor Raimondo’s commitment to lowering energy costs and expanding clean energy in the Ocean State,” says Marion Gold, the commissioner of Rhode Island’s Office of Energy Resources. “Through SolarWise RI, Rhode Islanders will have the opportunity to lower their energy bills, take steps to protect the environment and keep more of our energy dollars in-state.”
National Grid’s release states that under the new program, Rhode Island customers may also be eligible for a bonus solar incentive if they take steps to reduce their energy consumption before installing a solar PV system. In order to quality for the SolarWide Bonus, National Grid says, customers must go through the National Grid Energy Efficiency Program and have an energy assessment of their home or business.
The assessment will recommend steps customers can take to reduce energy consumption. Depending on the number of energy-saving measures available, customers may be eligible for a higher long-term payment for their solar system’s output. The more steps customers take to reduce their energy consumption, National Grid asserts, the greater the solar incentive they can earn.
National Grid expects SolarWise Rhode Island to be launched later this spring.