Going solar in Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, an average home needs a 6kW solar system in order cover most of their electricity needs. Given the average residential price-per-watt of $4.01 in Rhode Island, a 6kW system can cost around $24,060 depending on applicable rebates and other factors.

Select your county by clicking on the map and see the potential generated solar power and panel pricing. See how it compares with the US state average.

Average out-of-pocket cost for a 5 kW system The upfront amount spent to buy and install solar.
Rhode Island: $20,050US Average: $19,594
Average Payback Period The number of years until you break even on the solar investment.
Rhode Island: 13 yearsUS Average: 13 years
Average Net 20-year savings The total amount of money saved over 20 years minus the out-of-pocket cost.
Rhode Island: $11,349US Average: $11,571

Solar Potential in Rhode Island

Estimated system size and solar electricity production per median viable roof in
Rhode Island.

Roof size 518sq. ft.
Capacity 7.25kW DC
Electricity 8.4kkWh AC per yr.

Go Solar for as low as $0 down and $79/mo and reduce or replace your electric bill

Compare solar panels by system size in Rhode Island

Get the most value out of your roof by comparing the different benefits a given system size has.

System Size 2kW
Roof Size Min. space required
143 ft²
Electricity Value Annual Production $627 a year
Est. Price
$8,020
Savings from a 2kWthis system
  • Est. yearly production 2,815 kWh
  • Est. monthly savings $52
  • Full payback in 13 years
Environmental Impacts
  • Reduces CO2 emissions by 1.07 tons a year
  • Equivalent to planting 49 trees a year
  • Equivalent to driving 2,643 mi less a year
System Size 3kW
Roof Size Min. space required
215 ft²
Electricity Value Annual Production $940 a year
Est. Price
$12,030
Savings from a 3kWthis system
  • Est. yearly production 4,222 kWh
  • Est. monthly savings $78
  • Full payback in 13 years
Environmental Impacts
  • Reduces CO2 emissions by 1.6 tons a year
  • Equivalent to planting 74 trees a year
  • Equivalent to driving 3,965 mi less a year
System Size 4kW
Roof Size Min. space required
286 ft²
Electricity Value Annual Production $1,254 a year
Est. Price
$16,040
Savings from a 4kWthis system
  • Est. yearly production 5,629 kWh
  • Est. monthly savings $104
  • Full payback in 13 years
Environmental Impacts
  • Reduces CO2 emissions by 2.14 tons a year
  • Equivalent to planting 98 trees a year
  • Equivalent to driving 5,286 mi less a year
System Size 5kW
Roof Size Min. space required
358 ft²
Electricity Value Annual Production $1,567 a year
Est. Price
$20,050
Savings from a 5kWthis system
  • Est. yearly production 7,037 kWh
  • Est. monthly savings $131
  • Full payback in 13 years
Environmental Impacts
  • Reduces CO2 emissions by 2.67 tons a year
  • Equivalent to planting 123 trees a year
  • Equivalent to driving 6,608 mi less a year
System Size 6kW
Roof Size Min. space required
429 ft²
Electricity Value Annual Production $1,880 a year
Est. Price
$24,060
Savings from a 6kWthis system
  • Est. yearly production 8,444 kWh
  • Est. monthly savings $131
  • Full payback in 15 years
Environmental Impacts
  • Reduces CO2 emissions by 2.68 tons a year
  • Equivalent to planting 123 trees a year
  • Equivalent to driving 6,629 mi less a year

Rhode Island solar incentives, tax credit, and rebates

Rhode Island has 12 rebates and tax credits that you may be eligable for. Visit the official links for more details to see if you apply.

Solar incentives in RI

Small Scale Solar Grants (Commerce RI)

Value:Up to $10,000

Small-scale solar PV or water heating projects may be eligible for grant funding from the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation. The grant program is an initiative of the state's Renewable Energy Fund, though compliance penalties from renewable portfolio standard laws also support grants. Any resident, business, nonprofit, or public agency may apply. Only systems recommended by an energy auditor and which pass various engineering and financial analyses may be funded. Grants are based on project capacity and expected performance. The rate schedule differentiates between systems that are owned by the grantee and systems which the grantee leases from a third party. The maximum amount a grantee can receive is $200,000 for an owned system and $100,000 for a leased system. Additional information on how to apply is available from the Commerce RI website.

Property Tax Exemption for Renewable Energy Equipment

Value:Varies

Renewable energy systems installed in Rhode Island may be exempt from property taxes if they are used by a residence or manufacturer. Qualifying technologies include active solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, and some biomass/fuel cells. Systems in other commercial contexts are not exempt, but taxes on these systems may be stabilized at the local level. Additional information is available from the Office of Energy Resources.

Renewable Energy Standard

Value:Varies

Rhode Island first established a renewable portfolio standard in 2004. All public/private utilities, cooperatives, and retail electric distributors are required to participate. Long-term goals require the state's utilities to source 38.5% of their retail energy using renewable technologies by 2035. Utilities must achieve this goal in annual "steps," with a target of 17.5% by the end of 2021. Compliance is measured through a renewable energy certificate (REC) system pegging one megawatt hour of electricity to a variable dollar value. Utilities may invest in their own renewable energy facilities to generate credits themselves; they may also purchase credits from customers. Utilities that fail to meet their REC quota will be assessed a compliance penalty per credit they are deficient.

Renewable Energy Professional Certification

Value:Varies

Workers involved in the installation or repair of renewable energy equipment must hold a license from the state board. Specialty Renewable Energy Professional (REP) certificates cover all structural work necessary for the operation of a solar, wind, or another renewable device. Experience, education, and examination requirements apply to journeymen and contractors applying for the certificate. United Illuminating and Everblue offer expedited pipelines to licensure for their professionals. REPs are required to subcontract electrical or pipework to a licensed electrician or plumber.

Interconnection Guidelines

Value:Varies

Distributed generation and interconnection practices in Rhode Island have been standardized since 2011. Unlike jurisdictions that use tiers and levels to organize energy systems, Rhode Island uses permit processes themselves as benchmarks. Systems at a qualifying capacity level may be eligible for expedited permit reviews and fewer regulations. All systems must follow recognized standards such as those set by IEEE or UL. Utilities may require system owners to carry liability insurance coverage and/or install additional safety features such as outside disconnect switches.

Green Building Standards for State Facilities

Value:Varies

As of 2009, new state government buildings in Rhode Island have been subject to green construction standards and requirements. New occupied public-sector construction over 5,000 feet, as well as remodeling projects over 10,00 square feet, must meet the requirements for LEED certification and pursue formal accreditation from the US Green Building Council. Different LEED standards apply to public schools, and Green Globes or IGCC standards may count as meeting the requirement. Compliance with the legislative act enabling these standards is overseen by a committee under the Department of Administration. Annual reports are available from the RI Building Code Commission website.

Commercial Scale Renewable Energy Grants (Commerce RI)

Value:Varies

Commercial renewable energy projects may be eligible for grant funding from the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation. The grant program is an initiative of the state's Renewable Energy Fund, though compliance penalties from renewable portfolio standard laws also support grants. Qualifying projects include new solar arrays, wind turbines, hydroelectric systems, and some fuel cell/biomass systems. Only systems recommended by an energy auditor and which pass various engineering and financial analyses may be funded. Grants are based on project capacity and expected performance. The rate schedule differentiates between systems that are owned by the grantee and systems which the grantee leases from a third party. The maximum amount a grantee can receive is $200,000 for an owned system and $100,000 for a leased system. Additional information on how to apply is available from the Commerce RI website.

Renewable Energy Products Sales and Use Tax Exemption

Value:Varies

In Rhode Island, sales/use tax exemptions may apply to renewable energy devices. Currently, solar collectors, solar thermal system components, inverters, structural components for solar panels, geothermal pumps, and wind turbines qualify. Additional information is available from the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources.

Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund (RIREF)

Value:Varies

Rhode Island's Renewable Energy Fund was established in 1996 as the first in the nation. Routine fund operations are managed by a partnership of the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and Public Utilities Commission. Funding is acquired through two mandatory usage-based surcharges on all gas and electric bills. One surcharge covers renewable energy, while the other covers demand-side management. REF initiatives include loans and grants for communities, small businesses, corporations, and nonprofits. Additional information is available from the Commerce Corporation website.

Net Metering

Value:Varies

In Rhode Island, any renewable energy system rated for up to 10 MW qualifies for net metering. The only condition is that systems should produce all of the host property's electrical demand - nothing more. Under net metering, a customer's utility will install a bidirectional meter to measure a system's net excess generation (NEG) sent back to the grid. Customers will be compensated in the form of a bill credit for their monthly NEG. Utilities may, at their discretion, claim the bill credit for themselves to recover administrative costs. Virtual and aggregated net metering arrangements are available for microgrid customers and customers with more than one metered energy system. Additional information is available from participating utilities.

Rhode Island C-PACE program

Value:Varies

Cities and counties in Rhode Island may create and join property-assessed clean energy (PACE) financing districts. Any residential or commercial property may be eligible for special loans through the initiative. Effectively, PACE loans come from public funding, though they are serviced through local assessors and the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank. Repayment takes the form of a property tax lien senior to mortgages. Should the borrower sell or transfer their property, the new owner will be responsible for continuing repayments. If the borrower defaults or forecloses on their property, the Infrastructure Bank manages a loss reserve fund that can "pay off" the lien. Interested home/business owners should consult with their local government, as not every jurisdiction offers PACE loans.

Renewable Energy Growth Program

Value:Varies

Renewable Energy Growth (REG) is a Rhode Island incentive tariff initiative promoting solar energy adoption in the state. Interconnected residential, commercial, and industrial solar system owners may earn a performance-based incentive on top of net metering for a fixed 15 - 20 year period. Energy generated by REG participants goes toward the state renewable portfolio standard, but utilities are not required to enter power purchase agreements. Customers can therefore keep the RECs they generate. Additional information is available from the program website.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • As a general rule, unless there are local limitations, the main limitations to the amount of solar panels you can put on your roof are the available space on your roof, your electricity usage, your providers net metering rules, and the limitations of your house hold electrical system.
  • Based on our research the average price per installed watt is $4.01 in Rhode Island. This means for a 10kW system you can expect to pay $40,100 though pricing can vary significantly between installers based on the projects requirements.
  • Based on a Zillow research study from 2019, home with solar panels sell for roughly 4.1% more.
  • To generate the most power, solar panels in the United States should face true south as this generally results in the solar panels receiving the most light each day throughout the course of the year. That said, given that energy prices are often variable throughout the day, your installer may recommend you rotate your panels slightly so that the panels will receive more light at the end of the day when energy prices can be more expensive. That said, for most consumers the positioning of solar panels is highly dependent on your home's roof.
  • Based on our continuously updated database of solar installers, we have found 10 verified solar install companies in Rhode Island

Solar installers in Rhode Island (10)

Green Power Energy

Annandale CDP, NJ(844) 584-0008

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Reparation of solar arrays.
  • Installation of batteries for energy storage.
  • Monitoring of independent energy generation.
  • Expertise in consulting on advantageous financing for solar.

Sunwatt Solar

Pawtucket, RI(844) 786-9288

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Installation of batteries for energy storage.
  • Monitoring of independent energy generation.
  • Expertise in consulting on advantageous financing for solar.

Newport Solar

(401) 352-6155

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Installation of batteries for energy storage.
  • Expertise in consulting on advantageous financing for solar.

Venture Solar

(888) 417-2086

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Solar systems for selling electricity back to the grid.
  • Expertise in consulting on advantageous financing for solar.
Last Reviewed By: Nick Reese
Published: 2022-10-15