Toshiba breaks solar ground in Virgin Islands


The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) and Toshiba International Corporation (TIC) have begun construction on a new 4 MW photovoltaic power project in Estate Spanish Town on St. Croix, the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The plant is scheduled to be completed by the second quarter of 2014.

Toshiba will engineer, procure and construct the solar array and connect the facility directly to the new WAPA Midland Substation. The new plant will consist of 19,600 high-quality 255 Watt photovoltaic modules connected to eight 500 kW inverters.

Last year WAPA signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Toshiba for the integration of the 4 MW plant into St. Croix’s electrical grid. After the PPA expires, WAPA can either purchase the solar plant or renegotiate the purchase deal. This was one of three solar purchase and interconnection agreements signed at the time.

The authority also signed PPAs with SunEdison for 25 years and with Lanco Virgin Islands for 20 years, for a total of 18 MW of solar energy territory wide, which represents approximately 15% of the territory’s peak load demand.

With no up-front cost for the authority, the Toshiba PPA begins at US$0.155 per kilowatt hour and increases 1.5% annually, representing a leveled cost of $0.1716/kWh over the term of the 20-year contract. Estate Spanish Town’s 4 MW system represents approximately 8% of St. Croix’s peak and approximately 3% of the territory’s peak.