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Renewable Energy Fund (REF) in Rhode Island

Updated February 22, 2024 | Reading Time: 9 minutes

The Renewable Energy Fund, more commonly known as the REF incentive is a Rhode Island solar rebate program run by the RI Commerce Corporation that offers grant money to home and business owners who install solar panels. It is a grant program that lowers the upfront cost of your solar panel system. Not all properties are eligible for the incentive so it is important to work with a qualified installer.

What is the amount from the REF grant?

The incentive value is a maximum of $5,000 for homeowners and $75,000 for commercial projects. The value of the REF grant is determined by the size of your solar system.

Renewable Energy Fund (REF) Residential Grant Values

Renewable Energy Fund (REF) commercial incentive values

Why didn’t my installer tell me about the REF program?

The installation process can be slowed when you participate in the Renewable Energy Fund program. The project may be delayed up to 12 weeks while waiting for the block application date. However, we believe the grant value is always worth a slight delay.

When are the application rounds for the REF Rebate?

The application rounds are four times per year. The next application round for residential small-scale is February 23rd, 2024. The next round for commercial is March 1st, 2024. The following rounds should take place in the early summer months but the official dates are to be determined. Be sure to give your installer a minimum of 30 days’ notice prior to this date as putting together the application paperwork takes time.

Am I guaranteed to get the REF grant money?

Once you get your approval letter, you are guaranteed to get the grant as long as your solar system is installed correctly. You are not guaranteed to get the grant if you do not get the approval letter prior to your installation.

How do I get the Renewable Energy Fund grant money?

Once your installation is complete and the REF team has confirmed proper installation, your installer will receive the grant directly. You will not receive a check for the grant. The grant value will be subtracted from the cost of your solar system. As an example, if your solar system is $30,000 and you get a $5,000 grant, you will only need to pay your installer $25,000.

Do I have to pay taxes on my REF grant?

The grant is a discount on your solar system. You will not receive a 1099 requiring you to pay taxes on the grant amount.

How does the Renewable Energy Fund program work?

  1. Choose a solar company to install your solar system.
  2. The installer applies for the REF grant on your behalf.
  3. The REF team reviews the application and makes sure your project meets all requirements.
  4. Once approved, your installer will receive your award letter.
  5. Once your installation is completed, the REF team will conduct an inspection to confirm your system is installed correctly.
  6. The grant check is paid directly to your installer.
  7. Your installer gives you a discount on the system equivalent to the grant amount.

How do I know if I qualify for the Renewable Energy Fund Grant?

The requirements to qualify for the REF grant include ownership of the property where you’re installing the system, the property being in RI, and having good access to sunlight. Your installer will conduct a shade analysis of the property to see if you are eligible. The minimum TSRF number required for the grant is 80%.

Do businesses qualify for the REF Grant?

Yes, businesses can qualify for the REF grant.

Can REF be paired with other programs?

REF can be paired with a federal tax credit. REF cannot be paired with the Renewable Energy Growth Program.

How do I apply for the Renewable Energy Fund Grant?

Let your installer know you are interested in the program as soon as possible. Your installer will file an application to RICC on your behalf.

Can I apply for the REF grant myself?

No, the REF program only allows licensed solar installation companies to apply for the grant. This is because the awards can only be granted to business entities that are in good standing with the RI Sec. of State and are authorized to do business in RI.

Can I apply for the REF program if the project has already been completed?

You must apply before your system receives permission to operate from RI Energy. You are no longer eligible to apply for the REF program once your system receives permission to operate, .

Can I apply for the REF grant more than once?

Yes, a homeowner or business can apply for the grant multiple times. However, you can only apply for one grant per electric meter.

How does the REF Energy Storage Adder grant work?

There is a $2,000 grant for homeowners who add a battery, regardless of how many batteries are added.

For commercial systems, the maximum grant is $40,000 for adding batteries. The average grant amount per battery is $2,500.

How long has the REF program been around?

REF began in 2014.

How do I pick an installer?

Make sure to pick an installer who is experienced in handling the REF program. Isaksen Solar has participated in the Renewable Energy Fund program for almost 10 years. We are happy to answer any of your questions. Give us a call at (508) 717-3820