Despite being the smallest state in the USA, Rhode Island certainly punches above its weight in terms of its solar policies. Rhode Island is ranked 37th in the country for installed solar capacity in 2014 – an impressive feat considering how much smaller it is than the dozen states it beat out.
The top solar rebates, grants and tax exemptions in RI
As a resident of Rhode Island thinking about going solar, there are a few main state programs that you need to know about. Combined with the 30 percent Investment Tax Credit (ITC) from the federal government, these incentives help make your new solar energy system a great investment:
Small-scale solar grants
This solar grant program gives proud new solar owners $1.00 per watt via the installing company, up to $8,000. This means that if you mount an average 5-kilowatt system on your roof, you’ll receive $5,000 in cash right then and there.
Renewable energy tax credit (corporate)
In addition to residential solar rebates, the Ocean State has a tax credit worth 25 percent of the cost of going solar available to business owners in Rhode Island who purchase a solar panel system. While these savings will not go directly to homeowners, businesses that offer solar leases or power purchase agreements will be able to pass through the tax credit in the form of lower prices for you, the customer.
Property and sales tax breaks
Thanks to the Residential Solar Energy Property Tax Exemption, your property taxes will not increase as a result of the value your new solar panels add to your home. Additionally, due to the Renewable Energy Products Sales and Use Tax Exemption, you will not have to pay any tax on your purchase of your new solar energy system. Think of it as buying your system at a duty-free store!
Renewable Energy Growth: a key solar program
One of the state’s most exciting developments is the Renewable Energy Growth program, in which National Grid is partnering with EnergySage to provide an online solar marketplace for its customers. The Rhode Island Solar Marketplace helps homeowners identify the best solar installers at the lowest cost.
Customers who choose to participate in this program will receive 32.25 cents for each kilowatt-hour they sell to the grid for the first 15 years of their system. The value of this offer is most clearly highlighted when compared to the regular retail rate of about 19 cents.
This feed-in-tariff program is not only great for residents of the Ocean State, but could even serve as a model for other states as well.
Federal solar tax credit (ITC) and other incentives
One of the best solar incentives out there, the federal solar tax credit, also known as the Investment Tax Credit, cuts the cost of going solar by 30 percent. You can reduce your federal taxes by 30 percent of your total system costs – and if you don’t owe enough in taxes to claim the credit in one year, it carries over for subsequent years.
Net metering in Rhode Island
When you put solar panels on your roof, you want to make sure you get credit for all of the power your system generates. Luckily, Rhode Island has a net metering policy that credits you for the extra electricity your system produces, and allows you to use those credits when your system doesn’t generate enough power. National Grid offers the top utility net metering program in Rhode Island.