The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), in partnership with the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources and the Rhode Island Resource Conservation and Development Area Council, today announced $67,237 in grants to help farmers “green” their operations and save energy and money. The awards, funded through the Rhode Island Farm Energy Program (RIFEP), will support solar and energy efficiency projects at four local farms across the state.

“These awards will reduce energy costs and bring clean, reliable, and affordable renewable energy to Rhode Island farms,” said DEM Director Janet Coit. “Making continued investments in our green economy benefits our state, our environment, and our families. We congratulate our grant recipients and all partners involved in this effort.”

“We are pleased that these farms can offset their energy use and reduce their bills through these clean energy projects,” said Office of Energy Resources Commissioner Carol Grant. “Along with people all over the state, they are helping to advance Rhode Island’s clean energy future.”

Reducing energy costs allows farms to focus on strengthening their core businesses.

Funded projects include:

Barrington Farm School, Barrington — $8,000 Installation of a 1.18 kW ground mount solar array that will power irrigation pumps and provide electricity for the farm stand.

Pat’s Pastured, East Greenwich — $20,000 Installation of an 8.28 kW ground mount solar array that will help offset electrical use for the farm’s livestock operation.

Windmist Farm, Jamestown – $20,000 Installation of a 25.21 kW roof mount solar photovoltaic system that will help offset the energy use for the livestock farming operation.

Paris St. Pierre, Little Compton– $19,237.20 Installation of an 11.2 kW roof mount solar array that will help offset the equestrian operation’s energy use.

DEM continues to work across many fronts to strengthen Rhode Island’s green economy and assist local farmers in growing their businesses. Rhode Island is one of few states nationally where the number of farms is on the rise. There are more than 1,200 sprinkled across the state, a 44 percent increase since 2002. The state’s green industries account for more than 15,000 jobs and contribute $2.5 billion to the economy each year. Last spring, $54,000 was awarded under the RIFEP’s fourth grant round; the awards supported renewable energy and energy efficiency projects at Legend’s Creek Farm in Foster, Skinny Dip Farm in Little Compton, and at Richard Levesque’s equestrian farm in Smithfield. Funding for RIFEP is made possible through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov.

Ryan M. Belmore

Ryan M. Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and serves on the Board of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and Lucy's Hearth. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.