Rhode Island Issues RFP To Increase Access To Solar

RI Seeking Private Sector Partner To Help Deploy Solar For LMI Segment; CESA Calls It ‘1st State Solar RFP Launched Under IRA’s New Tax Regime’

Rhode Island Issues RFP To Increase Access To Solar

RI wants to contract a private sector partner to boost solar deployments in the state for the LMI segment. (Illustrative Photo; Photo Credit: jppressmura/Shutterstock.com)

  • RI is looking to partner with a private sector firm to encourage adoption of solar among LMI single family homes
  • It will be tasked with providing elevated incentives of up to $1 million for eligible customers, aligned with the environmental justice objectives under the IRA
  • State administration will support the selected vendor achieve these aims under the Affordable Solar Access Pathways (ASAP) program

The US State of Rhode Island (RI) has invited proposals from private sector partners to help install solar for low- and moderate-income (LMI) single family homes through solar leases or power purchase agreements (PPA), with an aim to achieve higher penetration of solar to ensure more equitable distribution of the benefits of going solar.

The Renewable Energy Fund (REF) of the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation will target households with income less than or equal to 80% of the area median income in the state in environmental justice focus areas which will be updated to align with the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provisions.

Selected vendor will be expected to help REF administer the Affordable Solar Access Pathways (ASAP) program under which ‘elevated incentives’ of up to $1 million will be available for eligible customers. It will make use of the IRA’s new environmental justice adders to the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), receive upfront incentives with innovative sharing mechanisms and receive marketing assistance to deliver the aims of the ASAP.

National non-profit coalition of public agencies and organizations working for clean energy, the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) defines ASAP as a no-money down 3rd-party ownership program focused on benefiting LMI families. It believes this is the country’s 1st state solar RFP launched under the IRA’s new tax regime.

“We believe the Affordable Solar Access Pathways program is an excellent way for solar companies to get their feet wet using the IRA’s new ITC adders, and an opportunity to do so with flexible and responsive state partners who are keenly interested in developing a long-term partnership across the region to better serve LMI communities and grow solar in New England,” said CESA’s Project Director for Solar and Offshore Wind, Vero Bourg Meyer.

REF sees this RFP as a means to accelerate financing for solar plus offerings as well and deliver attractive, low-cost, and long-term solar lease and PPA products to LMI customers, including those who may be ‘credit-challenged’.

Launched on December 29, 2022, the administration will accept proposals to this solicitation from qualified vendors till February 24, 2023.

RI targets to have 100% of its electricity to be offset by renewable production by 2023, starting with an increase of 4% in 2023 taking the total target for this year to 23% (see RI Adopts Most ‘Aggressive’ RE Standard In US).

As per the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), RI had 614 MW of total solar installed in the state through Q3/2022, representing 9.5% of its total electricity mix.

About The Author

Anu Bhambhani

Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews. Anu is our solar news whirlwind. At TaiyangNews she covers everything that is of importance in the world of solar power.

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