Future looks bright for Solarize RI

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — There’s a promising outlook for several hundred Rhode Islanders who plan to use solar panels to soak up the sun and bask in savings for years to come.

Friday, the results were in for Solarize Rhode Island – a community-based program that encourages people and their neighbors to install solar panels.

“We have 250 Rhode Islanders who have signed up to put solar on their home through the solarize effort this fall,” said Marion Gold of the RI Office of Energy Resources.

According to Gold, there are many benefits to signing up for the initiative – like having the opportunity to buy your panels in bulk.

“So the more people in a city or town that sign up, the cheaper the price of their solar system is,” she explained.

The state-sponsored initiative completed a pilot program last year. In the most recent round of the program, homes in Barrington, Foster, South Kingstown, Middletown, Portsmouth and Newport applied to get solar systems installed.

The 200-plus contracts will start the installation process this summer.

The Barrington home belongs to the solar ambassador of the program who wanted to get ahead of the game and spread the word.

So home much can solar cut down your energy bill? Gold said it depends.

“What kinds of appliances you have, how many kids you might have, so that will depend on whether your are offsetting to 10 to 20 percent or 100 percent,” she said. “There are a lot of people that are down to net zero, which is really exciting.”

As for getting your money back from the installation cost? Gold said it varies by household.

“Generally, we are seeing about a six to eight-year payback,” she said.

There is another chance for Rhode Island communities to apply, but the deadline is March 8. The next round of installations will be announced by the end of March.

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