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Gov. Donald L. Carcieri, R-R.I., has signed net-metering legislation into law. H-5461A, sponsored by Rep. David Segal, encourages renewable energy production by enabling those who build renewable energy projects to get credit for the energy pumped into the electric grid. The governor signed similar legislation (S-485), sponsored by Sen. Joshua Miller, last week.

"The fair and equitable rate of reimbursement resulting from this legislation should greatly accelerate investment in renewable projects," says Miller. "The benefits should be realized by homeowners, schools, small to large business, cities and towns, as they reduce energy costs."

The bills were intended to correct an overly narrow interpretation by the Public Utilities Commission of last year's net-metering bill, which restricted community net metering to five accounts.

The new law allows the utility to write a check to the project owner. This money can be used to pay electric bills. Or, project owners can use the funds to pay off debt incurred by the construction of wind turbines or solar panels.

Certain producers, such as municipalities, farms and affordable-housing developers, can opt to have up to 10 of their other bills credited with the value of the excess generation instead of receiving a check.

The law also clarifies that government entities can collaborate on net-metered projects. For affordable housing developments, the new law compensates wind turbine production at the more lucrative residential rate instead of the commercial rate in previous regulations.

SOURCE: Office of Gov. Donald. L. Carcieri


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