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The state of solar in Rhode Island

Rhode Island has about 202 sun-filled days each year, with roughly 79% of all rooftops viable for solar energy.* Although the Ocean State seems to be moving slowly, it is making waves with its Renewable Portfolio Standards. Beginning in 2019, these standards mandated that at least 16% of the state’s energy be solar-powered. The target increases incrementally each year, with a goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.*


How much solar energy does Rhode Island produce?

Rhode Island has ranked in the bottom half of all states that use clean energy. By 2021, this small state had moved down to 29th place, with 29 solar companies creating 6.59% of the state’s electricity, serving a total of 73,698 houses.*

What are the advantages of going solar in Rhode Island?

Transforming solar radiation into usable electricity through solar panels is one of the best ways to go green. You’ll decrease your carbon footprint by releasing less contamination and pollution into the air daily. You’ll also find that in a little over seven years, you should be able to recoup your investment for the solar panel installation, and it will continue to pay out by saving you money for up to 40 years or more.

With utility rates in Rhode Island costing around 21% higher than the U.S. average, solar is an easy way to achieve those monthly savings on your electric bill.

The current solar power generation in Rhode Island is about 42,000 MWh each year, which is only .05% of the state’s energy needs—but it could be much greater. If all solar-viable rooftops were to go solar, power generation could increase to between 3,390 MW and 7,340 MW per year—enough electricity, possibly, to power every home in the Ocean State.*

How much does solar cost in Rhode Island?

rhode island solar

The cost of a home solar system can vary, even in the same state, due to a range of factors. These include the:

  • Angle of the roof

  • Quality of the solar panels

  • Roof type

  • Homeowner’s energy needs

To help you understand the price of going solar in your area, we've analyzed SunPower price quotes as well as quotes gathered by third-party sources for thousands of homeowners across the country.

In Rhode Island, we found that the average investment to own a 5 kW solar system ranges from $14,100 to $14,600, or in other words from $2.82 to $2.92 per watt—and that's before considering the benefits of any available tax credits or incentives.

The good news for Rhode Island residents is that solar system installation prices in Rhode Island have decreased 45% within the past five years. Rhode Islanders also have many incentives to take advantage of, including:*

  • The federal solar tax credit: Homeowners who purchase their system as opposed to leasing it, can get a tax credit of up to 26% of the total cost of the solar installation.*

  • Renewable Energy Growth (REG) Program: The National Grid, a utility company serving New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, compensates solar array owners between 29.8 to 41.35 cents per kWh for each kWh that their system generates for 15 or 20 years.* This feed-in-tariff program replaces net metering for those solar panel owners who participate.

  • CommerceRI’s Renewable Energy Fund (REF): If a homeowner needs financial assistance to go solar, this fund supplies grants and loans for Small Scale Solar projects. CommerceRI uses the funds that retail electricity providers receive from the “system benefit charge” on electric bills and alternative compliance payments to fund these renewable energy projects.*

  • Net Metering: This is a program where utility companies compensate solar system owners for the excess solar power their system generates and sends back to the grid. According to the RI Office of Energy Resources, both Net Metering and Virtual Net Metering are available in the state, depending upon whether the system is located onsite (on the customer’s property).*

  • Property Tax Exemption: The 2016 H.B. 8354 exempts your residential renewable energy system from property taxes throughout the state.*

What’s the best way to go solar in Rhode Island?

Going solar is a worthwhile investment, especially if you go about it the right way. Avoid making mistakes and get the best return on your investment by working with a reputable solar installer.

After assessing your property, your solar provider should be able to provide you with a solar installation that fits your budget and energy needs. Look into getting a solar system that will boost your property's value and complement its aesthetics. A reputable solar energy company should also help you access every available solar incentive and rebate to help you reduce installation costs.

If you’re ready to get started, we’re happy to help. Simply request a free consultation with SunPower and we'll follow up with a quick call to schedule a time. You can also call us directly at (800) 786-7693.

Looking for commercial solar in Rhode Island?

SunPower is the top commercial solar provider in the U.S.* Schedule a commercial solar consultation today.

  • *. Wood Mackenzie, US PV Leaderboard (March 2021). SunPower ranked #1 in cumulative commercial volume 2017-2020

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