How friendly are Rhode Island’s policies towards solar? Included in the list below is a brief description of each policy affecting solar along with a corresponding grade.
Renewable Portfolio Standard or RPS (Grade C)
RPS mandates to utilities what percentage of all energy generated within the state comes from renewable sources including a specific deadline for action.
Utilities meet this standard by generating their own renewables or through purchasing it from their customers. If a utility doesn’t meet the standard then they must pay high fees. Utilities in strong RPS states may offer substantial solar incentives to homeowners which to the utility is less expensive than paying the fees for non-compliance. Currently the standard in Rhode Island requires utilities to generate 14.5% of their electricity from renewables by the end of 2019.
RPS-Solar Carve-out ( Grade: F)
States with solar carve-outs requires utility companies to generate a certain percentage of their Renewable Portfolio Standard from the sun. There are stiff penalties for non-compliance. Generally in states with large solar carve-outs customers can expect bigger and better solar incentives resulting in better financial returns for solar investments. Rhode Island currently has no provision for solar carve-out. Rhode Island has a long way to go on this one.
Electricity Prices (Grade: A)
Rhode Islanders pay way above the national average for electricity. The power your solar panels produce reduces your electric bill. The higher the price for power in your state the more money you save by generating your own and the more attractive going solar becomes.
Solar power rebates (Grade: F)
Sadly at the present time there are no solar rebates offered here. But you do have the Renewable Energy Growth Program (discussed below) and that is a pretty terrific thing.
Net Metering policies (Grade: B)
Net Metering allows you to sell electricity you don’t use to your utility for the same price they sell it to you. The grade reflects the state legislature’s balanced approach in various state policies governing net metering. Rhode Island has a strong net-metering program that ensures you get credit for your surplus energy up to 125% of your monthly consumption. Surpluses are credited to the consumer at the utilities avoided cost rate and can be carried forward to the next bill or purchased out right at the utilities discretion. Overall “not bad”!
Interconnection Policies (Grade: D)
Interconnection rules determine how solar system owners can plug in to the grid and send power to utility companies. The more up-to-date and straightforward the rules are the higher the grade. The best states allow for systems of any size and capacity, offer a less complex process for small systems, bans utilities from requiring unnecessary external disconnect switches and insurance, and has clear rules in place for dispute resolution. In Rhode Island the procedures are needlessly complicated which is why it gets such a poor grade.
Solar Tax Credit (Grade: F)
There is no solar state tax credit available at this time. Neighboring Massachusetts offers a $1000 state tax credit. Come on Rhode Island let’s get going on this one.
Note: The federal government offers a federal tax credit of 30%. Wow!
Solar Power Performance Payments (Grade A)
Rhode Island has a great power performance program that started in 2015 called The Renewable Energy Growth Program. This program pays solar energy producers 37.75 cents for every kilowatt-hour their panel sends to the grid for twenty years. This long-term guaranteed price is a dream come true for solar owners. Wow!
Solar Property Tax Exemption (Grade: C)
Installing solar panels on your roof increases the value of your home by up to 20 times your annual energy bill savings. In Rhode Island a solar system can be assessed at no more than a conventional heating system or conventional water heating system. That’s not bad but it could be a whole lot better. We believe that solar panels should be exempt from all property taxes for a minimum of twenty years like in neighboring Massachusetts.
Solar Sales Tax Exemption (Grade A)
Solar panels in Rhode Island are sales tax exempt. When it comes to solar in Rhode Island every day is a tax holiday.
Interested in Solar in Rhode Island
When you decide it’s time to go solar or if you would like more information about going solar, call Energy geeks at (401)-766-1540 or contact us online and let one of our friendly and knowledgeable field representatives come to your home and give you a no-cost solar assessment.