Officials: Net metering will save the city millions of dollars

Officials: Net metering will save the city millions of dollars

PAWTUCKET – Under Rhode Island’s renewable net metering credit program, the city has awarded a contract to Southern Sky Renewable Energy R.I. for a net metering agreement that will provide discounted solar power to the city for the next 25 years.

“The city is always looking for ways to save taxpayers money. The agreement with (Southern Sky) will be one way to do so over the next two and a half decades,” said Mayor Donald Grebien. This long-term solution to using power will save tens of millions of dollars while reducing climate-related risk and dependence on fossil fuels through an approach that’s friendly to the environment, he said.

With legislation enacted in Rhode Island in 2011, companies are able to offer municipalities in Rhode Island a discount on their electricity bills by selling the electricity to National Grid at a discounted rate.

According to the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources website, “Net metering allows customers with eligible renewable energy systems to receive bill credits for all power generated up to 125 percent of the on-site consumption during a billing period. Public entities (municipal, state, quasi-state) are allowed to enter into virtual net metering arrangements with renewable energy developers for up to 10 (megawatts) per project site.”

“Of the nine firms that responded to the city’s request for proposals, Southern Sky was identified as the firm demonstrating project readiness and provided the larger discount rate, which means greater savings for the city,” said Pawtucket Commerce Director Jeanne Boyle.

Southern Sky has demonstrated that it is ready for construction upon the signing of the contract. The firm has also offered a percentage discount of 35 percent off current and future projected electricity rates over the next 25 years, which was the highest among all proposals.

The city will be supplied with solar power to offset the cost of powering city-owned buildings and properties. The project itself will have no cost to the city and does not require any city investment.

Southern Sky will be building a solar facility in Hopkinton and discounted electricity bills are expected to begin by the first quarter of 2020.