Proposed: 20 acre solar energy farm

The Clean Coalition thinks it has a solution to the outrageous cost of electricity on St. John.  While a kilowatt of juice costs 8.5 cents in Maine, where at least half the homes heat with fuel oil, the cost is nearly five times as much on St. John.

Clean Coalition says it has a better idea: find land on the island, fill it with solar panels, generate power and reduce electricity bills as much as five percent.  If the project produced more electricity at times than the island needed, it would be sold to the Water and Power Authority.

The Coalition’s director, Craig Lewis, said the cost of the project could be as much as $45 million.


Photo courtesy of Solar Jeff

But not to worry about the money, he said. “It was explained that, were residents so inclined, they could invest in the projected $45M project and get a tidy return on their money,” said Solar Jeff, an alternative energy consultant on the island. “Lacking that, we were informed, ‘outside’ investors would be happy to finance the construction. And, of course, there is always the chance of a nice Federal grant.”

Also attending the meeting were the CEO of WAPA,  Senator Craig Barshinger, and Craig Lewis of the VI Energy Office.

Now, all they need is the land.

8 thoughts on “Proposed: 20 acre solar energy farm”

  1. Positive is how we think!! At .40+/kw it is a no brainer to use solar. The panels produce for 25 years and what will oil cost then. No noise, no moving parts and no pollution. Now if we can just keep Mr. Obama in the office of the president we can get one of those grants to help us out with our extreme energy costs!!

  2. I believe the original article mentioned 45 acres to meet their goal. Never mentioned was the “feed in” tariff, the price that WAPA would pay for the electricity. Also mentioned, this meeting was hastily called to meet a filing deadline to apply for funds from the Fed to finance a “study”! We all know how those go.
    45 acres is a lot of ugliness on such a small island. The picture above speaks volumes. All that for a possible 3-5% cost savings mentioned in the original article? There’s a reason they put those grids out in the boonies. The problem here is we don’t have an outback.
    Now if Mr Lewis and company want to pay and install solar kits on houses/businesses and Wapa wants to pay for unused electricity, incentivizing residents to conserve energy I think we would have a huge win, win situation.(Puerto Rico has an interesting set up.) Wapa, a non profit corporation, could then buy reduced amounts of crude oil etc.
    How does Mr Lewis/Clean Energy get paid?

  3. They have to be out of their minds. 45 million to possibly save 5%. Then along comes a hurricane and the whole thing ends up in Tortola. Don’t forget you have to maintain these units and they don’t last forever. If it is done, it should all be private money and private risk.

  4. Absolutely not. 45 acres, 20 acres, whatever….not on St. John. This is DOA. You want to save money? Install your own solar panels on your own house. You don’t get 20-40 acres of National Park land to build your power plant. I’m glad Solar Jeff wants to increase HIS bottom line. He can do this one house at a time.

  5. Yeah, Clark. Maybe we can just have Solyndra come build this. We may not have a lot of things on STJ, but we obviously have plenty of Kool-Aid.

  6. This will be fun… “greens for energy” versus “greens for land/wildlife preservation”.
    Not at all happy about burueacrats in Washington taking our hard earned money (essentially a portion of our lives life since we traded our time to generate those dollars) at the point of a gun (the IRS will send law enforcement to your home with guns to arrest you if you don’t pay your taxes)then sending those dollars to yet more bureaucrats in the VI to then distribute to political cronies to “study” the best solution.
    Why don’t we just skip all that and go to the very obvious best solution… homeowners buy and install roof panels. They don’t need the government to do the math for them.. panels are cheap, WAPA generated electricity is expensive. If energy costs are so high and solar is the answer then I’ll see rootop panels all over the island on my next trip. If not, then this is just another utopian boondoggle at the expense of a portion of my life.

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