The utility sector saw the first major solar panel installations in the state of Rhode Island starting in 2013. However, it wasn’t until 2017 that the state saw significant commercial and residential solar capacity being installed. In fact, the state now has a total of 118 megawatts of installed solar at the end of 2018.This is enough power for 21,000 homes and gives the state a ranking of 34th. 299 megawatts of solar capacity is scheduled to be deployed in over the next five years.
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Here are some key numbers about the state’s solar activity to date;*
- About 64 megawatts of solar capacity was added in the state in 2018. This gave it a ranking of 25th for that year.
- About 1,007 people now find employment through the state’s 34 solar power companies.
- $112 million was infused into solar projects in 2018. The cumulative number now stands at $225 million.
- Prices for solar in the state have dropped 47 percent over the past 5 years.
Two noteworthy solar projects have installed capacities of 3.7 megawatts and 3 megawatts. Their names are the East Providence Landfill Solar Array and Forbes Street Solar. They can supply electricity to more than 1,000 homes combined.
The state has a renewable portfolio standard that mandates that 38.5 percent of electricity produced must be from renewable resources by 2035.**
Net metering in Rhode Island is pretty standard compared to many other states. Customers are credited at the avoided cost rate for the utilities’ pricing structure. Residential customers’ system sizes are not capped, which is good.**
About 16 solar installers now operate in the state. They can be found in Providence, Warwick, Cranston, Pawtucket, East Providence, Woonsocket, Coventry, Cumberland, and South Kingstown, to name a few. Rhode Island has a fair amount of installed solar from the residential sector and that trend is expected to continue in the coming years.
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*Information and figures gathered from seia.org.
**Information and figures gathered from dsireusa.org.