Senator Whitehouse and State Leadership Announce Launch of Tiverton and Little Compton Solarize Campaigns

TIVERTON, RI – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Representatives from Governor Gina M. Raimondo’s office joined the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation (Commerce RI), the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER), and non-profit marketing firm SmartPower today to announce the launch of Solarize Tiverton and Solarize Little Compton, the latest communities to join the growing Solarize Rhode Island program.

“Rhode Island has some of the highest energy costs in the country. Solarize Rhode Island’s energy efficiency programs help reduce residential and business costs now and in the future,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “Together we can ‘Make it’ in Rhode Island by investing in clean renewable energy and in turn, create jobs and economic opportunities.”

Solarize Rhode Island is a municipal-based program aimed at reducing the costs of installing small-scale solar energy. Round one of Rhode Island’s pilot program in North Smithfieldsurpassed similar campaigns in other states, with 84 residential and small commercial solar systems contracted (equivalent to 623kW of power) in just 9 short weeks. Solarize relies on a few key components to reduce solar installation costs, including: a) a competitively-selected installer in each town; b) a tiered pricing system and time-limited offer to incentivize greater participation; and c) community-based marketing.

“Adopting renewable sources of energy is important for our environment and our economy,” said Whitehouse.  “Installing solar creates jobs and reduces our dependence on the fossil fuels that drive climate change and harm public health.  That’s a win-win for Rhode Island, and I applaud Commerce RI, OER, and SmartPower on this program.”

“We are pleased to be able to bring Solarize Rhode Island to Tiverton and Little Compton. With this second round of the program, we are using distributed renewable energy, coupled with existing energy efficiency programs, to increase the reliability of the power grid in these towns.” explained Marion Gold, Commissioner of the Office of Energy Resources. “Other states are looking to Rhode Island’s leadership piloting this innovative program.”

“Through this partnership, we are be able to work with towns like Tiverton and Little Compton to offer solar installations at lower costs, while helping to expand the renewable energy sector as a growing source of jobs and economic activity in Rhode Island,” said Stefan Pryor, Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce. “With greater adoption of solar energy, we hope to leverage the Solarize program to continue to provide Commerce RI’s Renewable Energy Fund resources to support such projects around the state.”

“The Town of Tiverton is pleased to participate in Solarize,” said Matt Wojcik, Tiverton Town Administrator. “The adoption of renewable energy resources at the residential level is one of many ways a community can participate in larger efforts to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.  As a practical matter, everything we can do to alleviate the need for constructing additional energy transmission assets is a worthwhile step to stabilize the overall cost of living for our residents over the long term.  On behalf of the Town I am grateful to the State officials involved for choosing Tiverton to be a pilot community for this initiative and will make every effort to ensure project success.”

“Whether you are someone who has thought about installing solar panels for a long time, or someone who is persuaded by the incentives and pricing, “Solarize Little Compton” will be a great opportunity for a large number of our citizens.” – Robert Mushen, Little Compton Town Council President.

“We are excited to be working with the towns of Tiverton and Little Compton for their solarize programs,” added Eric Beecher, founder of Sol Power, the Providence-based solar cooperative selected by both towns.  “We would like to thank the towns for selecting a local installer and look forward to developing a relationship with the community members. We look forward to doing our part to help these communities go green and ramp up their clean energy generation.”

“We have seen the incredible success of Solarize campaigns across the country,” said Brian F. Keane, President of SmartPower.  “But now Rhode Island’s communities are taking it to an entirely new level. We have said it before and we will say it again – solar just makes sense for Rhode Island!”

About Solarize Rhode Island

Commerce RI and OER jointly administer the Solarize Rhode Island program and work with SmartPower to manage projects within the municipalities. SmartPower brings marketing and community engagement expertise and helps create and manage websites, develop and distribute collateral to market the programs. Commerce RI and OER helped the municipalities select installers through a competitive bidding process and are assisting with promoting and providing ongoing support for the Solarize program.


About Commerce RI
Commerce RI is the official economic development organization for the State of Rhode Island.Commerce RI’s mission is to work with public, private and non-profit partners to create the conditions for businesses in all sectors to thrive and to improve the quality of life for our citizens by promoting the State’s long-term economic health and prosperity.

Commerce RI manages the State’s Renewable Energy Fund which provides grants and loans for renewable energy projects with the potential to make electricity in a cleaner, more sustainable manner, while stimulating job growth in the green technology and energy sectors of Rhode Island’s economy.

About Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources
The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) is the lead state agency developing energy policy and programs. OER’s mission is to lead Rhode Island to a secure, cost-effective, and sustainable energy future. OER works closely with private and public stakeholders to increase the reliability and security of our energy supply, reduce energy costs and mitigate against price volatility, and improve environmental quality.

About SmartPower
SmartPower is the nation’s leading non-profit social marketing firm dedicated to promoting clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Named the “Best Non-profit Marketing Firm in the US” in 2014, SmartPower’s mission is to help Americans make smart energy choices by creating on-the-ground campaigns that engage the public and generate measurable energy actions.

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