Governor McKee, RI Office of Energy Resources and Dept. of Environmental Management Announce Recipients of RI Agricultural Energy Grants

Published on Wednesday, May 22, 2024

PROVIDENCE, RI – Governor Dan McKee, the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) have awarded $160,000 in grants to support farmers as they decarbonize their agricultural operations. The clean energy projects funded through this opportunity will further the reduction of the state’s carbon footprint while reducing the energy burden of RI’s agricultural sector. The awards, funded through the Rhode Island Agricultural Energy Grant Program, will support renewable energy and energy efficiency projects at eight local farms across the state.

"Rhode Island's agricultural community is a vital component of our local economy," said Governor Dan McKee. "It's a privilege to announce the recipients of this round's Agricultural Energy Grants, a program that consistently aids farmers in lowering their energy costs and reducing carbon emissions year after year."

"Since 2016, the program has supported more than 70 projects, helping farmers adopt clean energy in their operations," said Acting State Energy Commissioner Chris Kearns. "The Agricultural Energy Grant Program continues to be instrumental in achieving the targets of the Act on Climate. It has funded the installation of over one megawatt of solar capacity, directly reducing energy costs for the agricultural sector."

“The Agricultural Energy Grant Program supports Rhode Island’s green economy and diverse agricultural sector, which has the highest percentage of beginning farmers in the country according to USDA’s Census of Agriculture,” said DEM Director Terry Gray. “DEM congratulates the local farmers receiving these grant awards, which will help ensure our future food security by supplying more consumers with fresh RI Grown food, enhance our environment, and advance our collective efforts to meet the Act on Climate’s emissions reductions mandates, and enhance our environment.”

Spring 2024 funded projects include:

Simmons Farm Organics, Middletown: $20,000  
Simmons Farm can trace its origins back to 1632. This more than 120-acre farm is one of the few remaining in Rhode Island still producing dairy. The farm will install a 23.8 kW roof-mounted solar PV array that will reduce energy expenses by about 90% for the historic family farm in Middletown.

Bishop Stables, Smithfield: $20,000  
Local riding academy and stabling center, Bishop Stables in Smithfield plans to expand their solar portfolio with a 3.6 kW add-on solar project. This new installation will build upon their existing PV system to offset additional energy loads produced by new stalls and associated heaters.

Novena Farms, Cumberland: $20,000  
Reducing energy expenses by 78%, Novena Farms is installing an 11 kW roof-mounted solar array. This project will help in their transition from alpaca farming to horse stabling and boarding. It will also allow the owners to continue cultivating plants and flowers that are sold at their on-site farm stand.

Salisbury Farm Apiary, Foster: $20,000  
Salisbury Farm Apiary’s energy costs will be 100% offset by the installation of a 6.8 kW roof-mounted solar PV. This is critical as the owner’s transition their hives, honey processing and packaging operation to Foster.  

Small World Farm, Little Compton: $20,000  
This local orchard is home to more than 700 apple trees. Small World Farm will be offsetting 100% of its electric load with the installation of a 5.85 kW roof-mounted solar PV array.

Cluck and Trowel Farm, Little Compton: $20,000  
Family-owned Cluck and Trowel Farm in Little Compton is installing a 19.13 kW ground-mounted solar array to 100% offset the energy usage required to produce, package, store and sell pastured eggs, poultry and seasonal produce.

Wicked Tiny Farms, Narragansett: $20,000  
Cutting approximately 50% of Wicked Tiny Farms’ energy use, this local greenhouse is undergoing an energy-efficiency project which will install two heat pumps to heat and cool their new greenhouse. This addition will extend their growing season while saving 720 gallons of propane and 10,647 kWh of electricity.

Captain Elisha Steere Farm, Greenville: $20,000  
Dating back to 1810, Captain Elisha Steere Farm continues to expand their operations with a new greenhouse and duck house. These new buildings will be supported by the installation of a 10 kW ground-mounted solar PV array. This project will offset 100% of the energy costs generated by irrigation equipment, refrigeration and food processing at this historic farm in Greenville.

There are more than 1,000 farms throughout Rhode Island contributing over 2,500 jobs and $235 million to the Rhode Island economy each year.

Funding for the state's Agricultural Energy Grant program is made possible through Rhode Island’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI is the nation's first mandatory, market-based cap and trade program to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide from the power sector.

To read more about how Rhode Island is addressing climate change mitigation and resiliency, please visit: