Small Scale Solar Grants (Commerce RI)

Program Small Scale Solar Grants (Commerce RI)
Category Financial Incentive
Implementing sector State
Last Update
State Rhode Island
Administrator Commerce RI
Start Date
Technologies Solar Water Heat, Solar Photovoltaics
Sectors Residential

Commerce Rhode Island provides financial grants for small scale solar photovoltaic systems and domestic solar water heating systems to help reduce energy costs and increase renewable energy adoption. The program is funded by the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund (REF) and alternative compliance payments (ACPs) from the state’s renewable portfolios standard (RPS). The application for grants are solicited on a "Block" basis  with specific application deadlines. 


All residential, business, affordable housing, non-profits, state facilities, and municipalities located in Rhode Island are eligible to apply for the grant. Systems that are directly owned (DO) and systems that are owned by Third Party (TPO) are both eligible. Customers participating in RE Growth Program offered by National Grid are not eligible to participate in the program. 

Grants are available for solar photovoltaic systems up to 10 kilowatts (kW) in capacity and domestic solar water-heating systems. Project owners must have conducted an energy audit prior to application submittal.  

Program description

Systems that are directly owned (DO) and Third Party Owned systems have separate applications with different incentive levels. Solar PV systems are eligible up to $10,000 grant at an incentive of $1.05/ W for directly owned systems, and maximum of $5,000 grant at incentive for $0.70 for third party owned systems. Solar domestic how water systems are eligible up to $5,000 or a maximum of 25% of the total project cost.  

Although homeowners are eligible for funding, they cannot themselves apply for the grant. Applications can only be submitted by eligible entities such as solar contractors, neighborhood associations, or other grouping mechanism approved by the Commerce RI. The installer/developer of the system must apply on the behalf of the projects owner. The installer is limited to an aggregate cap on all projects per solicitation period for $200,000 for direct owned systems, and $100,000 for third party owned systems. Commerce RI does not mandate that the REC’s go to any particular party. It is up to the installers and customers to decide who owns the REC’s.

The following requirements apply to each PV system proposed:

  • Signed turnkey contract demonstrating minimum of 3 year workmanship warranty
  • Project simple payback and return on investments using assumptions stated in the program guidelines.
  • Copy of most recent electricity bill or Fuel bill if applicable
  • Layout drawing
  • An aerial image of the site from Microsoft Virtual Earth, Google Earth, or similar source with the building or site clearly identified.
  • A photo of the project location taken from the south looking northward toward the building or site.
  • Shading analysis demonstrating at least 80% TSRF
  • A one-line electrical drawing.
  • Manufacturer’s specifications for panels and inverter to be installed.
Add new comment