National Grid has filed with the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission a proposal (Docket No. 4536) to implement the state’s new Renewable Energy Growth Program. The program aims to install 160 MW of new distributed generation over the next five years. National Grid’s proposal provides for separate solicitation and enrollment rules for small-scale solar PV projects (≤ 25 kW) and a separate residential tariff designed to simplify the process for residential small-scale PV projects (≤ 25 kW). All other projects would be subject to a non-residential tariff and separate solicitation and enrollment rules.
All small-scale PV projects would receive a standard incentive as a monthly bill credit for the system’s energy output, pursuant to the law’s net metering provision, with any remaining performance-based incentive paid to the certificate holder of record for the renewables attributes of the project. Applications for small-scale PV projects would be accepted on a rolling, first-come, first-served basis.
Medium-scale PV projects (25 kW to 250 kW) would receive a standard incentive and be subject to a two-week enrollment window. For PV projects exceeding 250 kW and all other renewables, National Grid would select eligible projects based on competitive bids. For all projects other than small-scale PV, if the project can be configured for net metering and is sized according to its on-site load, the customer may choose to receive the entire performance-based incentive payment directly or receive compensation via a combination of a direct incentive payment and a bill credit based on the value of the customer’s on-site consumption. For all projects other than small-scale PV, the system owner must pay for the cost of a utility-owned interval meter.
The Distributed Generation Contracts Board is currently developing ceiling prices for different types and sizes of eligible DG systems under the RE Growth Program. A recent draft indicates that the ceiling prices range from $0.365/kWh – $0.557/kWh for small, host-owned PV, and from $0.2935/kWh – $0.434/kWh for small, 3rd-party-owned solar. For larger PV, the range is $0.182/kWh – $0.3955/kWh. For wind energy, the range is $0.17/kWh – $0.2275/kWh. For both PV and wind, the rates vary by several criteria, including usage of federal tax credits.
Rhode Island’s Renewable Energy Growth Program was established by legislation (S.B. 2690) enacted in June 2014. National Grid supported the bill.