Energy Efficiency And Renewable Energy Programs For Farms

Agricultural Energy Grant Program

The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) manages the Agricultural Energy Grant Program that provides grants of up to $20,000 for eligible energy efficiency and renewable energy projects located on farms throughout Rhode Island. Our goal is to support clean energy projects in the agricultural sector. Interested applicants should review the Program Guidance document and ensure applications comply with program terms & conditions. Applications should be sent via email to Abigail.Hasenfus@energy.ri.gov on or before the listed closing date of the funding round to be considered. Grant awards are subject to availability of funds and are awarded at the sole discretion of OER; submission of an application does not guarantee an award.

Applications for the Spring 2024 round are due by 5:00pm on Friday, March 15th, 2024.

The Agricultural Energy Program since 2016:

70 Projects Awarded, $1,273,600 in funding awarded, 64 Renewable Energy Projects, 4 Solar+Storage Projects, 6 Energy Efficiency Projects, Over 1MW in awarded capacity

    

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Clean Energy Profiles

To see examples of how several farmers have used this program to help implement clean energy projects, watch our two video profiles below:

Verde Vineyards: A Case Study in Climate Resilience

Verde Vineyards received an award from the state's Agricultural Energy Grant program (administered by the RI Office of Energy Resources and Department of Environmental Management) supporting both the battery installation and an upgrade to its solar inverters. The farm received an additional grant award from the US Department of Agriculture Rural Energy for America Program (USDA-REAP).

Legend's Creek Farm: A Clean Energy Transition

Legend’s Creek Farm, located in Foster, Rhode Island, is popular for its goat milk soap and other personal care products. To help save energy, the owners installed energy efficient closed cell foam insulation and new double-pane windows. The farm received combined grants for over $38,000 to install 59 solar panels, which produce nearly 100 percent of its annual energy use.

Bottling the Sun with Sweet & Salty Farm, Little Compton, RI

This local dairy farm, renowned for its grass-fed Jersey cows, transforms fresh milk into exquisite yogurt and cheese right on the premises. Their products, celebrated for their quality, find their way to local markets and retailers, connecting the community with sustainable agriculture. Sweet and Salty Farm installed a 19.8kW solar array atop their dairy barn and creamery in 2017, designed to cover 100% of their electrical needs. This renewable journey was significantly supported through grants: $20,000 from the Rhode Island Agricultural Energy Program (RI AgEP), $18,067 from the USDA's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), and $19,800 from the Renewable Energy Fund. The project's return on investment was calculated at a mere 2.7 years. Sweet and Salty Farm stands as a shining example of how renewable energy can empower local businesses.

Windmist Farm: Powered by the Sun

In 2018, Martha Neal and her husband decided to take a closer look at their energy use and explore ways to reduce costs. They decided to pursue a clean energy system that could redefine the farms eco-footprint. With the help of various funding sources, Windmist Farm installed a 25.21 kW PV system atop two southern facing barn roofs. The farm received several grant awards including: $20,000 from the Rhode Island Agricultural Energy Program, $20,242.15 from the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program, and $21,424.25 from Commerce RI’s Renewable Energy Fund. Additionally, the Federal Investment Tax Credit provided substantial financial support. Windmist Farm now saves a remarkable $18,000 each year in energy costs, and the payback period was calculated at 3.8 years. Windmist Farm serves as an example of how sustainable choices can benefit both the environment and the bottom line, and they encourage other Rhode Island farmers to take advantage of these opportunities.

What opportunities can help support the process?

The Agricultural Energy Program is designed to support the adoption of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at agricultural operations in Rhode Island. The Program can also leverage other state and federal incentives  available to RI farmers, including the Renewable Energy Fund, USDA's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), the Federal Investment Tax Credit, and Rhode Island Energy’s energy efficiency incentive programs. Additionally, there are federal incentive programs designed to help provide funding for farm energy projects.

Funding for the Agricultural Energy Program is made possible through Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) auction proceeds, with a maximum award amount of $20,000 per project to support the agricultural sector's clean energy transformation. For more information on energy program funding opportunities check out our webinar.

 

Past Awardees

Energy Efficiency Resources for Farmers

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Contact Us

Abigail Hasenfus | Renewable Energy Programs Manager | abigail.hasenfus@energy.ri.gov

 

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