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Last month, community members gathered in Burrillville, Rhode Island, for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the state’s first operating community solar project, called Goat Island. Neighbors, local Arcadia members, solar developers, Rhode Island officials, community organizations, and more traveled from all over the state and country to celebrate and see the solar farm in action.

The beauty of community solar is that customers don’t have to install solar panels or pay fees to benefit.

It was a beautiful day, and my team at Arcadia couldn’t be prouder to be a part of the work. A project of this scale, which is serving nearly 700 Rhode Island residents, takes massive amounts of collaboration, cooperation, and residential support. It truly is a community endeavor.

It’s been more than two years since solar developers saw the potential in these rolling green, sun-drenched fields. Today, the 3.307-megawatt project is made up of subscribers from the Arcadia community and is managed by Nautilus Solar.

“It is exciting to be a part of this first step for community solar in Rhode Island,” said Nautilus Solar CEO, Jim Rice. “These projects symbolize Nautilus’ commitment to providing easy access to community solar for customers across Rhode Island.”

The beauty of community solar is that customers don’t have to install solar panels or pay fees to be a part of the project. Carol Grant, Rhode Island state energy commissioner described the perks of projects such as Goat Island: “Community solar is a great option for people who do not have access to solar power, such as those who may not have a suitable roof for panels, renters, or low-to-moderate income earners.” Through community programs like these, most Rhode Islanders now have access to clean power at rates that are often lower than what they are currently paying.

Thanks to Goat Island, residents of the Ocean State are already starting to see savings on their power bills. The system will produce 145 gigawatt hours (GWh) over the next 35 years, which will feed into the utility that powers the state, called National Grid. It’s expected to offset the CO2 emissions generated from using 360,000 gallons of gasoline each year.

Community solar really is an incredible success story. In the case of Goat Island, old farmland is getting new life and serving the community in novel ways. In time, bees and butterflies will discover a new home here, as pollinator-friendly plants start to grow in the ground.

We want our members to know that they’re a part of this renewal. When you sign up for Arcadia, you’re making a statement that you support clean energy. And that’s a message that could impact generations to come.

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Kiran Bhatraju

Kiran Bhatraju is the CEO and Founder of Arcadia.

Washington, DC