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National Grid Offers Online Solar Marketplace to Rhode Island Customers

March 22, 2016 By Cheryl Kaften

The Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (Docket No. 4589-A) has approved National Grid’s application for a SolarWise Rhode Island website, to be launched early this spring.

The utility said that “the site would be the first nationwide to offer customers a simplified way to research and purchase photovoltaic equipment and earn bonus solar incentives,” based on their reduced use of the grid. The new program is part of National Grid’s 2016 Rhode Island Renewable Energy (RE) Growth Program.

“This is another example of Rhode Island leading the nation in the development of innovative programs that both lower energy bills and provide direct benefits to our environment,” said Timothy F. Horan, president of National Grid – Rhode Island. “The PUC and our state legislators are to be congratulated for their foresight in crafting legislation and approving programs that can benefit thousands of Rhode Islanders.”

The RE Growth Program was developed in accordance with legislation passed in 2014 that encourages the growth of distributed generation throughout the state. The goal is to increase the amount of electricity generated by customer-owned equipment by 160 megawatts (MW) over a five-year period. That would be enough electricity to power 30,000 homes for one year.

To deliver the SolarWise program National Grid is collaborating with EnergySage, a nationwide online solar marketplace, to create SolarWise. 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 all will be eligible to participate.

To be eligible for a bonus solar incentive, customers must have a National Grid energy assessment of their homes or businesses. The assessment will recommend steps a customer may take to reduce energy consumption. Depending on the number of energy saving measures a customer takes, he or she may be eligible for a higher long-term payment for their solar system’s output.

“We are tremendously excited about the SolarWise Rhode Island Program,” said Marion Gold, commissioner of the state’s Office of Energy Resources. “The program is consistent with Governor [Gina] Raimondo’s commitment to lowering energy costs and expanding clean energy in the Ocean State. 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. It’s a win-win-win.”

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