The Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund (REF or RIREF) is a grant program using public benefit funds supported by a surcharge on electric and gas customers’ bills. Administered by the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation (Commerce RI), the program operates on a first come first served basis. Grants are administered in blocks, with a limited offering of blocks each calendar year. For example, in 2019 homeowners investing in solar energy systems can apply in January, June, and September of that year.
The grants for small-scale projects suitable for homeowners are distinguished by direct ownership – through a purchase or financing – and third party ownership – via a lease or PPA.
For direct ownership, the grant currently pay $0.90 per Watt, with a cap of $7,500 total. Mathematically that cap is reached for systems of approximately 8.3 kW in size, however the state does not impose a capacity limit, only a grant limit. So a larger system is still eligible for the $7,500 cap.