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The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), in partnership with the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources and the Rhode Island Resource Conservation & Development Area Council, today announced $100,000 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 five local farms across the state. 

“Farm Energy Grants are helping Rhode Island farming families grow their businesses, conserve energy, and make Rhode Island cleaner and greener,” said DEM Director Janet Coit in a press release. “Kudos to our grant recipients and to all partners involved in our efforts to bring clean, reliable, and affordable renewable energy to Rhode Island farms. Especially now as we’re dealing with the COVID-19 public health crisis, Rhode Islanders can take pride in knowing that when they purchase products that are locally grown and harvested at Rhode Island farms they are helping to keep a vital part of our economy up and running.”

“Given our new realty with COVID-19, it remains critically important to support local small businesses and our agricultural community,” said Acting Energy Commissioner Nicholas Ucci in the release. “By implementing cost-effective energy efficiency and other clean energy measures, local farmers can reduce their energy consumption and costs.  This not only saves on operating costs, but also contributes to cleaner air and reduced carbon emissions.”

According to DEM, 2020 Funded projects include:

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The Farm – Chepachet                                                                            $20,000

The 13.65 kW roof mount solar array will offset nearly 100% of the energy use for this vegetable and flower operation.

EMMA Acres – Exeter                                                                                     $20,000

The 42.66 kW roof mount solar array will offset 100% of the energy use for this dairy farm operation

Sprout Organic Farms –North Providence                                          $20,000

The 11.06 kW roof mount solar array will assist in lowering the energy use for this indoor micro green operation

Gnarly Roots Farm – Tiverton                                                          $20,000

The 10.24 kW ground mounted solar system will supply the needed energy demand for this livestock and produce operation.

Masson Farm – Wakefield                                                              $20,000

The 14.8 kW ground mount solar array will offset 100% of the energy use for this beef and livestock operation.

DEM says that they continue to work across many fronts to strengthen Rhode Island’s green economy and assist local farmers in growing their businesses. 

“There are more than 1,000 farms sprinkled across the state; the state’s green industries account for more than 15,000 jobs and contribute $2.5 billion to the economy each year. Last year, $118,765 in grants supported renewable energy and energy efficiency projects at Pat’s Pastured in East Greenwich, Legends Creek Farm in Foster, Verde’s Vineyard in Johnston, Martinelli’s Farm & Charcuterie LLC and Big Train Farm in North Scituate, and Ferolbink Farm in Tiverton. Funding for RIFEP is made possible through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the nation’s first mandatory, market-based cap and trade program to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). As a participating state, Rhode Island receives CO2 allowance proceeds and invests them in a variety of consumer benefit programs including energy efficiency, renewable energy, direct energy bill assistance and other greenhouse gas reduction programs”, DEM writes.

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

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