PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Office of Energy Resources has awarded $1.16 million in grants for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects to local public and private schools and school districts.
Rocky Hill School in East Greenwich; the Community Preparatory School and Meeting Street School, both in Providence; and West Warwick High School were awarded a total of $622,250 in grants to install solar photovoltaic systems ranging in size from 33 kW to 235 kW.
West Warwick High School will use its grant to install systems on both its field house and ice rink – for a total annual energy bill savings of $31,000, the OER said in a press release.
The total energy capacity of the school programs is expected to be 613 kW.
“By participating in regional initiatives such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, our state is able to benefit from projects that provide Rhode Island students with a ‘living laboratory’ to learn about clean energy and environmental protection,” said Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee in a prepared statement.
Energy efficiency investments totaling $538,000 were also awarded to the East Greenwich, Chariho Regional, and Lincoln school districts. They cover energy-efficient lighting upgrades, replacement of boilers, and installation of controls for heating systems and fans.
Chariho estimates its cost savings at approximately $14,000 annually, with a 30 percent reduction in energy use. Other school districts expect similar savings, OER said.
These awards were funded through Rhode Island’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. RGGI, the nation’s first market-based system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, puts a cap on emissions from the electric power sector in participating states and sells tradeable allowances at auction.
Rhode Island uses its portion of the proceeds from the auctions to support energy efficiency measures and programs as well as projects focused on renewable energy, grid modernization and innovation.
“These grants reflect Governor Chafee’s commitment to strengthening our economy through investments in clean energy,” said Richard Licht, director of the state Department of Administration. “These projects not only allow Rhode Island schools to lead by example, they also create jobs for local businesses.”
Marion Gold, commissioner of the OER, said the value in these grants extends beyond the energy and cost savings.
“The interest in this program speaks volumes about the benefits schools see in investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy,” she said. “These grants not only help to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, but reduced energy bills allow schools to invest more money in one of our state’s greatest resources – the next generation of Rhode Islanders.”
Janet Coit, director of the R.I. Department of Environmental Management, said the grants reflect the goals of her agency and the work of the governor’s Executive Climate Change Council.