It makes all the sense of the world: use solar power to generate electricity for three sun-drenched Virgin Islands in the middle of the ocean. It makes so much more sense than relying on imported oil that has to barged in from thousands of miles away.
A $65 million deal for three solar companies to provide 15% of the Territory’s electricity was signed by the Governor.
John de Jongh Jr. said they agreed to pay for and construct six solar power installations on St. Croix and St. Thomas. The facilities will produce 18 megawatts of power for the Islands’ power grid. The cost will be an average of 16 to 17 cents a kilowatt hour, about a third of the current cost.
The agreements with the companies extend 20 to 25 years. Construction of the solar collector sites will take most of next year and begin after the Public Service Commission approves the rates.
“While no solar arrays will be placed on St. John or Water Island at this time,” the Governor said, “All customers throughout the territory will equally benefit from the lower energy costs to be realized from these installations.”
On St. John, “Solar Jeff” Smith has been installing systems for hot water, pool heaters and pumps, and other smaller applications.