A-60 White Glove Program
The Office of Energy Resources is committed to ensuring increased Low-and Moderate-Income (LMI) access to community solar. Through these efforts, a conflict between A-60 customer participation (where A-60 is National Grid’s income eligible rate code) and community solar arose that could have potentially resulted in additional cost for these customers. In response to identifying this problem, OER has created a participant-limited pilot program to work closely with A-60 customers that are enrolled in community solar programs – the A-60 White Glove Program.
This pilot program assisted with signing up two customers through Rhode Island’s two community solar programs. A contract with the two customers and Clean Energy States Alliance was executed with a small incentive for their time provided. One customer, Elsie, was signed up for Navisun Palmer Circle Solar, located in Hopkinton, which is a Community Remote Distributed Generation project. The other customer, Maria, was signed up for King Solar project, located in North Smithfield, which is a Community Remote Net Metering project. OER reached out to the subscriber management companies for each project for information regarding the sign up for these customers, such as any paperwork needed for signing up, when the benefits will start to display on the bill, contract length, and contract terms. After the initial sign up in 2020, bi-weekly check ins are held in order to make sure no issues arose and to answer any additional questions Elise or Maria may have. These check ins are also helpful in identifying and troubleshooting any barriers to participation encountered by the A-60 eligible customers.
This program was implemented as a pilot in order to see any issues with A-60 customers signing up for community solar as well as receiving savings over time. Both customers experienced minimal issues with the initial sign up and have yet to have any issues with the process. “I wasn’t even aware about the choice of getting clean energy without having to install solar panels on my roof”, Elsie stated. This exemplifies the importance of increased communication about programs and opportunities in LMI neighborhoods. Due to a 10% average annual savings on an electricity bill when signing up for community solar, a modest amount of money can be saved on utility bills. Not only is clean energy important to customers, but that there are affordable options out there for folks who might not have access to these resources. Expanding access to the benefits of the CRNM Program, as well as increasing education and awareness, will create new opportunities for Rhode Islanders to participate and benefit from the state's commitment to a clean energy future.