Joined by state legislators and other officials on Thursday, Gov. Gina M. Raimondo, D-R.I., ceremonially signed into law several bills meant to advance renewable energy in Rhode Island. Furthermore, the governor and SolarCity announced that the rooftop solar company will be expanding its operations in the state.
According to a press release from the General Assembly, one of the bills was H.7413A/S.2185A, which extends the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) from 14.5% by 2019 to 40% by 2035. State lawmakers approved the bill in late June, and the governor technically signed it shortly afterwards.
The release says other legislation ceremonially signed at Thursday’s event included a bill that extends the state’s renewable energy fund, enhances the Renewable Energy Growth program, expands virtual net metering, and offers third-party financing for homeowners and businesses; a bill that incorporates clean energy into the areas of focus of the Governor’s Workforce Board; and a bill that establishes a statewide solar permit process.
“This legislation reflects forward-thinking energy policies that will help us meet our state energy goals,” said Raimondo. “With its passage, we can continue to create jobs, connect Rhode Islanders with more cost-effective energy options and reduce our carbon footprint.”
According to the release, SolarCity said its planned expansion in Rhode Island is, in large part, due to the work of the General Assembly and the governor to build the clean energy economy – particularly the state’s efforts to expand net metering and allow residents to install solar through a lease or power purchase agreement – as well as the governor’s recent meeting with SolarCity in California.
The release quotes SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive as saying, ““We look forward to increasing our solar product offerings in the Ocean State.”