Renewable Energy Fund | REF Grants, Programs & Materials

RENEWABLE ENERGY FUND

About REF

CommerceRI’s Renewable Energy Fund (REF) exists to help expand the role of renewable energy throughout Rhode Island, so the state and its citizens can reap the full benefits of cost-effective renewable energy from diverse sources.

REF provides grants for renewable energy projects that have the potential to produce electricity in a cleaner, more sustainable manner, while stimulating job growth in the green technology and energy sectors. Using funds from the “system benefit charge” on electric bills and alternative compliance payments received from retail electricity providers, CommerceRI funds renewable energy projects in Small Scale solar, Commercial Scale, and Community Renewables.

Grant Rounds
Rounds Small Scale Commercial Scale
24-1 February 23, 2024  March 1, 2024
24-2 TBD TBD
24-3 TBD TBD
Homeowner Resources

RI offers two solar PV incentive programs: The Renewable Energy Fund (REF) and The Renewable Energy Growth Program (REG).

  1. REG is run by Rhode Island Energy and is a fixed 20 year long term contract with a fixed electricity price and a solar PV production based incentive (PBI). This means you will receive credits on your bill up to the amount you owe, and any excess generation is compensated to you in the form of a direct deposit. The ceiling price for REG this year is 27.75 cents/kwh.            You can learn more about that program by visiting  https://gridforce.my.site.com/servlet/servlet.FileDownload?file=0156T00000GBhV1 (You must be an RI Energy customer to use this program)
  2. REF is run by RI Commerce Corporation. This is a grant program that offers an incentive to discount the upfront cost of a net metered system. Our program CAN NOT BE PAIRED with the Renewable Energy Growth Program administered through National Grid.

A Simplified Process:

  1. Choose a solar installer for your residential solar system.
  2. The installer applies for the Renewable Energy Fund Grant on your behalf.
  3. The REF team reviews the application, making sure the project meets all requirements. If applicable, an Award Letter is created and sent to the installer.
  4. The installer is required to send the documents listed on the Award Letter to REF, once documentation requirements are reached, a Grant Agreement is created. The Grant Agreement is a legal binding document stating that the funds for your project have been allocated.
  5. The project is installed on your home and interconnected.
  6. Once installation is complete, the installer will submit required completion documents to REF. REF sends these documents to our inspection team, and the project is scheduled for an inspection.
  7. If there are any issues with the project, our inspection team will contact the installation company to resolve these problems. REF is notified of successful completion of inspection.
  8.  Lastly, REF submits a payment request to our accounting team. Payment is disbursed to the installer company via an invoice check.

Since installers apply for the grant on the homeowners behalf, most homeowners don’t know what the documents they are signing are for and why they need to sign them. Listed below is an explanation of each document that a homeowner will be asked to sign before an installer can submit completion documents to the REF.

https://commerceri.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/Small-Scale-Completion-Forms_10.2021.pdf

  • Page 2, 3, and 5 ask for signatures from the system owner/homeowner. Page 5 is optional and for marketing purposes. The other two are required to certify that the project was completed so that we can pay out the grant to the installer.
  • Page 3 will indicate whether or not there were changes to the system AFTER the application was submitted. If the system size was increased, we cannot increase the amount of the grant. If the system size decreased, we have to reduce the amount of the grant.

Installers have to obtain signatures from homeowners in order to receive grant payment. These grants REPAY installers for the discount that they provided to homeowners upfront

4. Our program CAN BE PAIRED with a federal tax credit. 30% federal investment tax credit for solar. The ITC is currently at 26%, but the Inflation Reduction Act will increase to 30% for projects set to come online on or after 01/01/2023. A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the income taxes that you would otherwise pay the federal government, and is based on the total installed project cost. To calculate your federal tax credit, subtract the grant from your total project cost.

5. Other options for homeowners who would like to use renewable energy to power their home including PPA and community solar subscriptions. Please follow links below

Other helpful resources
How to find a Solar Installer:

Community Solar: https://energy.ri.gov/renewable-energy/solar/community-solar
PPA:  https://betterbuildingssolutioncenter.energy.gov/financing-navigator/option/power-purchase-agreement

REF Programs

Commercial Scale Projects

Commercial Scale Funding Program Approximate Time Table
All dates are approximate and subject to change.

Rounds
Enrollment Date Application Close Date
24-1 March 1st, 9am March 1st, 5pm
24-2 TBA TBA

– Blocks will close on the application closing date or if available funds have been reached.

Commercial Scale- Application Documents

Self-Inspection Forms: Completed projects will be required to submit Completion documents including the following Self-Inspection form (choose the form that fits your project):

NEW! Energy Storage Adder- Application Documents

Note: Hard copies are no longer a requirement but holds as an option. Please submit your applications (all sections) via email to REF@commerceri.com

Small Scale Projects

Small Scale Funding Program Approximate Time Table
All dates are approximate and subject to change.

Rounds
Enrollment Date Application Close Date
24-1 February 23rd, 9am February 23, 5pm
24-2 TBA TBA

– Blocks will close on the application close date or if available funds have been reached.

Application Documents
Request for Projects icon pdf
(Please review this document for application instructions)
Funding Flyer icon pdf
Direct Ownership Projects Application icon pdf
Project Checklist- Excel Template
Consumer Disclosure Form

New Vendor Letter with ACH and W9 Form

NEW! Energy Storage Adder- Application Documents

Note: Hard copies are no longer a requirement but holds as an option. Please submit your applications (all sections) via email to REF@commerceri.com

Small-Scale Self-Inspection Forms: Self Inspection forms should be submitted with project completion forms:

Small Scale Self-Inspection PV Template Lite:https://commerceri.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Commerce-RI_REF-PV-Self-Inspection-Report-4.18.22_Template.docx

Small Scale Self-Inspection PV Template Lite with examples: https://commerceri.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Commerce-RI_REF-PV-Self-Inspection-lite-Report-with-Examples.docx

Small Scale Self-Inspection PV + ESS Template Lite:https://commerceri.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Commerce-RI_REF-PVESS-Self-Inspection-Report_4.18.22Template.docx

Small Scale Self- Inspection PV + ESS Template Lite Form with examples: https://commerceri.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Commerce-RI_REF-PVESS-Self-Inspection-Lite-Report-2023_w-Examples-1.docx 

 

Community Renewables

 

 

Enrollment Date Funding Budget Remaining Funds
(as of 12/31/21)
CLOSED $600,000 $509,300.00

 

Applications are not being taken while the program is under evalution.

 

 

Clean Energy Internship Program - Summer 2024

The Renewable Energy Fund (REF) and the RI Office of Energy Resources (OER) seeks to match clean energy companies with RI undergraduate and graduate interns for the Summer 2024.

Rhode Island’s clean energy industry has seen significant employment growth with an impressive 74% increase since 2014. Over 16,021 green jobs ranging from direct construction, engineering, research, policy, professional services, energy efficiency and more! The RI Clean Energy Internship Program is designed to help provide internship opportunities in these careers. Students will be able to professionally develop under the mentorship of an industry partner to combat real world problems in energy and the environment.

  • Please submit your questions via email to Abbie Hasenfus: abigail.hasenfus@energy.ri.gov

 

Learn how to apply by choosing the options below:

  1. Are you a student interested in becoming a Clean Energy Intern for the summer of 2024?
    • Please apply through the Clean Energy Internship Portal: https://refinternships.commerceri.com/login/
    • Deadline: April 19th, 2024
    • Marketing Flyer
  2. Do you have a Clean Energy company and are looking for interns for the spring of 2024?

For Frequently Asked Questions: Please click HERE

Clean Energy Internship Program At-A-Glance Infographic

Brownfields Solar PV Program

The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation (RI Commerce) and the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) seeks to fund solar PV on Brownfield locations. All projects must be in accordance with the Rules and Regulations for the Renewable Energy Fund Development Program.

Applications will be accepted as a first come, first served process on a rolling-basis until funding is exhausted.

Enrollment Date Funding Budget Remaining Funds
(as of 1/20/22)
May 19, 2021 $1,000,000 $266,720.00

 

Note: Hard copies are not requirement but holds as an option. Please submit your applications (all sections) via email to REF@commerceri.com.

Request for Projects Documenticon-pdf

Brownfield Solar Applicationicon-pdf

Frequently Asked Questionsicon-pdf

 

NEW! Energy Storage Adder- Application Documents

Affordable Solar Access Pathways Program

                                                                                                                               Asap

The ASAP Program will provide access to affordable rooftop solar and energy efficiency services for low-and-moderate income households in environmental justice areas. This program is administered by the Renewable Energy Fund and the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources.                                                                                                                       

Eligible residents must both:

  1. Live in an Environmental Justice Focus Area or a census tract eligible for the federal Low-Income Communities Bonus Credit Program
  2. Have a household income at or below 80% of the state median income

Please follow the link below to find out more information or to sign up!  

CONTACT
US TODAY

KAREN STEWART
REF PROGRAM MANAGER
401.278.9112

KALEIGH CANFIELD
REF PROJECT COORDINATOR
401.278.9123

YOUR BUSINESS ADVISOR

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