By Kimberley Donoghue
PBN Web Editor
PROVIDENCE ‚Äď The R.I. Department of Environmental Management was awarded $1.5 million to install solar panels at nine of its facilities.
‚ÄúThese solar arrays illustrate how properly-sized renewable energy projects can work at a wide range of publicly-owned sites. The technology is proven and will result in lower electrical bills for the state for many years to come,‚ÄĚ said DEM Director Janet Coit.
Most of the solar panels will be mounted on existing roof structures on a standard aluminum racking system. The panels will be 40 inches wide by 66 inches high and will be one-and-a-half inches thick. Installation at the nine sites will begin this week and is slated to be finished by the end of February.
The solar panels, which meet the requirements of the Buy American Act, will be tied to the electric grid and its bi-directional meters will count the electricity being made so the state‚Äôs electric bill can be reduced accordingly, a news release said.
A Web-based reporting system will allow the public to track the amount of electricity produced by the solar panel and the wind turbines at Fisherman‚Äôs Memorial State Campground and Salty Brine State Beach in Narragansett.
The system is expected to be in place early next year, the DEM said. A third wind turbine in East Matunuck State Beach in South Kingstown will also be available on the reporting system once it‚Äôs completed.
The funds, announced Thursday, were awarded as part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009.
The nine sites include: