Renewable Energy Growth Program in Rhode Island

April 19, 2024 | Reading Time: 6 minutes

The Renewable Energy Growth (REG) Program, managed by Rhode Island Energy, financially supports renewable energy generation across Rhode Island. Approved technologies for these projects include wind, solar, small-scale hydropower, and anaerobic digestion.

What is the Renewable Energy Growth Program?

The REG program is a monetary incentive for owners of residential and commercial properties who implement a renewable technology and are willing to sell all produced electricity to Rhode Island Energy for a fixed price.

How Does the Program Work?

If accepted into the program, all generated electricity will be sent directly to the grid. At the end of the month, an energy surplus or deficit is calculated. The customer will be compensated or billed respectively.

The REG program is revised annually with new ceiling prices and terms of service ranging from 15 to 20 years. However, once a contract is open, it cannot be revised and the rate is set for the entire term. While the REG program rates may change each year, only future contracts are eligible to secure them. Contracts can be decommissioned before the term is up but early end fees may apply.

REG Calculation Example

The customer sells their energy to the grid or a fixed price. In this hypothetical example, it is 27 cents per kWh. The customer still subscribes to the grid and purchases their electricity at the regional rate. Ideally, the price of electricity would be less than or equal to the amount that the customer is selling it for. That way, the customer will make money or break even every month on their electric bill. For example, if the price of electricity is only 20 cents per kWh, the customer would net 7 cents per kWh and be compensated for the total amount of energy produced and consumed. But if the price of electricity rises above the customer’s selling price, they will experience a deficit and owe the electric company. For example if the price of electricity rises to 30 cents per kWh, the customer would owe 3 cents for every kWh they produce and consume.

The price of electricity is always fluctuating. This is what makes the REG program risky. Even if you secure a high selling price, the rate of electricity could always rise above it, and you’d be stuck with owing your utility company.

Who Owns the Power?

While the property owner technically owns the power getting produced by the system, the electricity gets sent directly to the grid without passing through the home. This restricts the property owner from making certain upgrades to their system like adding batteries.

Since the power is never sent into the property, the batteries would technically be backing up the grid, not the home. Despite the property owner being the source of power production, the utility company has a majority of the jurisdiction when it comes to solar systems in the REG program.

Small-Scale REG Program

The small-scale REG program is available to homeowners and business owners with energy systems of 25kW or less. The program opens yearly on April 1st and is available on a first-come, first-served basis until it is fully subscribed.

Commercial Scale REG Program

Projects greater than 25kW are categorized under the commercial scale. The ceiling price of the monetary incentive varies based on the project’s energy production capabilities and ranges from 14 to 31 cents per kWh.

How Do I Apply for the REG Program?

Applications for the REG program must be submitted electronically via Rhode Island Energy’s Interconnection Process webpage. Participants must then submit a W-9 form to RI Energy. RI Energy’s taxation policies should also be reviewed before applying.

You will be notified if your project is approved or rejected for the program.

How To Qualify for the Small-Scale REG Program

  • Solar arrays and other technologies should have a maximum capacity of 25kW DC, be in Rhode Island, be connected to the Rhode Island Energy distribution system, and be operational within 24 months.
  • The system must be sized to produce electricity at a level not greater than the historic or estimated annual usage of the customer.
  • Residential customer projects must be located at a customer residence receiving electric service under the Basic Residential Rate.
  • Projects cannot be operational or under construction at the time of application.
  • Non-residential customers can elect to receive bill credits so long as their project is sized at a level not greater than the historic or estimated annual usage of the customer.

How to Qualify for the Commercial Scale REG Program

  • Solar and other technologies must be greater than 25kW.
  • Before the enrollment period, applicants must receive an Impact Study for Renewable Distributed Generation (ISRDG) or an Interconnection Services Agreement (ISA) from Rhode Island Energy.
  • Participants must submit a W-9 and 1099s will be issued to non-exempt recipients of Performance Based Incentive payments and bill credits.
  • All projects must be constructed and operational within 24, 36, or 48 months depending on the renewable technology.
  • Systems may be subject to and must pass an inspection.

Can the REG Program be Combined with Other Incentives?

Combining incentives is dependent on the system your using the program for.

For example, if you’ve installed a solar energy system, the REG program can be combined with the Federal Solar Tax Credit, but it may not be paired with the Renewable Energy Fund program.

Speak with your solar installer to learn more about the available incentive programs for your system and which ones you qualify for.

Is the REG Program Worth It?

We would only recommend considering the REG program to our solar customer if they are commercial property owner. We do not recommend a residential customer looking to achieve net-zero electric bills to apply for the REG program. The REG payments are too uncertain, and the fix, long-term selling rate is highly constraining. Oftentimes, the price of electricity rises above the consumer’s selling price and they end up with a deficit.

Isaksen Solar: Your Guide to Incentive Programs

At Isaksen Solar, we’re experts of solar incentives. We’ve enrolled thousands of systems in various renewable energy incentive programs and are well aware of the benefits and drawbacks of each one. We know how they work, who qualifies, how to apply, and what to expect.

We’ll help guide you through the decision making process and make sure to enroll you in every incentive that aligns with your needs and energy goals. No need to worry about applications or paperwork, we’ll take care of all that so the only thing you have to do is collect your checks.

You can feel confident that Isaksen Solar will help you make the most of your solar investment. Give us a call if you have any questions or want to take the first step, (508) 717-3820.