As most know, renewable energy is a great way for Rhode Island businesses to reduce their operational costs by offsetting their electric demand with the power produced from a renewable energy project.Commerce RI's Renewable Energy Fund (REF) is a vital tool in helping to increase the role of renewable energy throughout the state while stimulating growth in the green technology and energy sectors. The REF provides grants and loan opportunities for eligible renewable energy projects -- for preliminary feasibility studies, as well as direct residential, commercial and municipal installations. Funding is also offered for new renewable energy business ventures and innovative development. The fund is supported by a surcharge on electric customers' bills and the program is run by Commerce RI with the Office of Energy Resources providing assistance in development of the rules and regulations and evaluation of submitted REF applications.
To help encourage more companies to take advantage of the REF and promote sustainable efforts in the state, Commerce RI recently developed and implemented a brand new grant program in 2014 for renewable energy projects. As part of the program, Rhode Island businesses can apply for 30 to 40 percent of their renewable energy installation costs. Eligible technologies include solar, anaerobic digestion, wind and hydro projects. Combined with the Federal Investment Tax Credit of 30 percent, a grant from Commerce RI's Renewable Energy Fund can bring payback periods down to three to five years depending on the project.
This new grant program is extremely valuable for a multitude of reasons. Not only are we helping to promote technologies that can help our environment, but we are also promoting innovative ways to help businesses lower their operating costs. By increasing a company's bottom line, we are freeing up more capital for businesses to grow their company and increase their workforce.
Source: Commerce RI