Bundled solar projects to power Rhode Island public housing


Nine authorities from the Public Housing Association of Rhode Island (PHARI) are aggregating their electricity demand to commission a long-term energy contract with Nautilus Solar Energy and Veolia North America.

Three solar facilities will be built in the state, covering about 55 acres in total. The arrays are expected to generate 20 million kWh of electricity for public housing authorities in Providence, Newport, Cranston, Smithfield, Warwick, Warren, Bristol, and Lincoln.

The agreement includes guarantees for savings against prevailing electricity rates. Rhode Island has some of the highest electricity rates in the nation, and the project is expected to lead to upwards of $30 million in savings over the next 20 years.

Veolia advised PHARI, and Nautilus was selected by the Board of Commissioners of each housing authority to be sole developer for the community solar projects from start to finish. Veolia, through its SourceOne brand, has been advising PHARI on energy decisions for over ten years. 

As long-term owner of the portfolio, Nautilus will oversee construction, and management and maintenance for 25 to 30 years. Construction is expected to begin in the first half of 2022.

“This was the first remote net-metering project in which a group of individual housing authorities worked together to leverage their buying power,” said Jason Su, structuring associate at Nautilus.

The energy generated from the projects will be fed into the grid of Narragansett Electric Co., a unit of National Grid.

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