Solar power in Rhode Island

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Rhode Island population density

Solar power in Rhode Island has become economical due to new technological improvements and a variety of regulatory actions and financial incentives, particularly a 30% federal tax credit, available through 2016, for any size project. A typical residential installation could pay for itself in utility bill savings in 14 years, and generate a profit for the remainder of its 25 year life. Larger systems, from 10 kW to 5 MW, receive a feed-in tariff of up to 33.45¢/kWh.[1][2]

Due to the state's small size and comparatively low insolation, solar installations are limited to predominantly rooftop and megawatt scale installations. Approximately 23% of electricity used in Rhode Island could be provided from rooftop solar panels.[3] A 10 to 15 MW photovoltaic power plant is planned for a former landfill in East Providence.[4]

Government policy[edit]

The Government of Rhode Island has taken a variety of actions in order to encourage solar energy use within the state. Nineteen schools have installed a 2 kW or larger solar panel that can be monitored on the Internet, similar to the programs in Australia and New Zealand.[5] A variety of solar arrays have been installed at state facilities, which can also be monitored.[6][7]

Net metering[edit]

The state has a net metering program that allows installations of up to 5 MW of on-site electrical generation to continuously roll over any excess generation to the next month, or purchased at avoided cost. Participation is limited to 3% of utilities peak demand for Block Island Power Company and Pascoag Utility District. National Grid has no limit.[8] Peak demand for the state for 2011 was 21,477 MW.[9]

Renewable portfolio standard[edit]

The state adopted a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) in 2004 which requires that 16% of Rhode Island's electricity come from renewable resources by 2019.[10]

Installed capacity[edit]

Photovoltaics (MWp)[11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18]
Year Capacity Change  % Change
2007 0.6
2008 0.6
2009 0.6
2010 0.6
2011 1.2 0.6 100%
2012 1.9 0.7 58%
2013 7.6 5.7 300%
2014 12.6 5.0 66%
2015 17.1 4.5 36%

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rhode Island State Solar Power Rebates, Tax Credits, and Incentives
  2. ^ Distributed Generation Standard Contracts
  3. ^ Report Argues for a Decentralized System of Renewable Power Generation
  4. ^ R.I. EDC approves grant, loan for solar-power project, Bristol repair shop
  5. ^ Solar Installation Map
  6. ^ RI lands $1.5M to install solar panels on state property
  7. ^ News Release
  8. ^ "Rhode Island - Net Metering". Retrieved 2012-06-08. 
  9. ^ Semiannual Projections of Energy Supply and Demand Winter Outlook 2011- 2012
  10. ^ "Renewable Energy Standard". 2011-08-10. Retrieved 2012-06-08. 
  11. ^ Sherwood, Larry (August 2012). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2011" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). p. 17. Retrieved 2012-08-16. 
  12. ^ Sherwood, Larry (June 2011). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2010" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). p. 20. Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  13. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2010). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2009" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). p. 23. Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  14. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2009). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2008" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). p. 16. Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  15. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2009). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2008" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). p. 16. Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  16. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2012). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2012" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). p. 16. Retrieved 2013-10-11. 
  17. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2014). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2013" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2014-09-26. 
  18. ^ Rhode Island Solar

External links[edit]