Incentives spur Ocean State Clean Energy business

Kenny Hsieh hopes to cash in on Rhode Island’s burgeoning clean-energy industry. So far, he’s making a go of it, with some help from the state’s largest utility.

The 31-year-old California transplant started his own solar-panel installation company – Ocean State Clean Energy in Pawtucket – earlier this year. Since then, his firm has outfitted 17 homes with panels, which he says can eliminate a homeowner’s electric bills.

Previously working in sales for a solar-panel company in Providence, Hsieh decided to use his savings to start his own company after he realized Rhode Island is fertile ground for solar-energy businesses.

“The incentives in Rhode Island are unique and very aggressive,” he said.

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National Grid, which supplies electricity and natural gas to nearly all of Rhode Island, has a Performance-Based Incentives program to aid owners of solar-energy systems and help homeowners recover the costs of installing a system.

Hsieh is preparing for his first commercial job – installing solar panels in a field to supply other properties with power.

“I always wanted to be my own boss,” he said.