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Solar projects planned to support Rhode Island public housing

Written by: Leonard Parker | Solar News | 13th October

New England sustainable energy developers Nautilus Solar Energy and Veolia North America (VNA) are joining forces on a project that will provide energy savings to area housing authorities and bring electricity to thousands of low-income residents across the state from renewable solar projects.

The effort aggregates multiple public housing authorities under a single renewable energy contract and will entail the construction of three solar projects covering more than 55 acres. The panels will provide power to nine separate housing authorities in Rhode Island that are members of the Public Housing Association of Rhode Island (PHARI).

Located primarily in Exeter and Smithfield, the arrays will provide over 20 million kWh of electricity to housing authorities in Providence, North Providence, Newport, Cranston, Smithfield, Warwick, Warren, Bristol and Lincoln. The goal is to lower operating budgets for housing authorities through energy savings, approximately $30 million over the next 20 years.

“We’re proud to bring our experience partnering with PHARI to support innovations that provide clean renewable energy for everyone in Rhode Island, and on a broader scale, the ecological transformation that needs to happen everywhere,” said Mike Byrnes, VP and CEO of SourceOne VNA’s energy consulting company.

SourceOne has been an energy advisor to PHARI for over 10 years, providing energy procurement and risk management services to all of its member organizations.

“This partnership is significant as it epitomizes Nautilus’s pledge to provide equitable, affordable access to community solar for all Rhode Islanders,” said Jim Rice, co-founder and co-CEO of Nautilus. “We were proud to work alongside Veolia North America and PHARI members on these important and ground-breaking projects,” said Jason Su, structuring associate at Nautilus. “This was the first remote net-metering project in which a group of individual housing authorities worked together to leverage their buying power. As a result, hundreds of public housing residents will benefit from these clean affordable solar projects.”

Nautilus was selected by the Board of Commissioners at each of the nine housing authorities to be the sole developer for community solar projects.

As the long-term owner of the portfolio, Nautilus will be responsible for overseeing construction, ongoing management and maintaining long-term performance for the life of the projects, estimated at 25 to 30 years. The energy generated from the projects will be fed into the electric utility territory of The Narragansett Electric Company, a subsidiary of National Grid. The projects are in the early stages of development and are expected to start construction in the first half of 2022.

News item from Nautilus Solar Energy