|Local Option - Property Tax Exemption for Renewable Energy Systems
|Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources
|Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Photovoltaics
NOTE: H.B. 8354 enacted in July 2016 included a provision that exempted qualifying renewable energy equipment used in residential and manufacturing sector to be exempt from property taxes throughout the state, thereby superseding the local option provision. Renewable energy equipment used in commercial facilities are not included in the exemption.
Rhode Island allows cities and towns to exempt, by ordinance, renewable energy systems from property taxation. The term "renewable energy system" is not defined in the applicable statute (R.I. Gen. Laws § 44-3-21), but R.I. Gen Law § 39-26-5 defines renewable energy resources to include, direct solar radiation, wind, movement and latent heat of ocean, geothermal, small hydro, eligible biomass, and fuel cells using renewable energy.
Note that a separate statute (R.I. Gen. Laws § 44-57-4) specifies that for purposes of local municipal property tax assessment, certain residential solar-energy systems may not be assessed at more than the value of a conventional heating system, a conventional hot-water system, or energy production capacity that otherwise could be necessary to install in a building. Qualifying technologies include photovoltaic (PV) systems, solar water-heating systems and active solar space-heating systems.