US Virgin Islands: New 4.2 MW PV plant provides 5% of island's base load capacity


The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) and Main Street Power Company inaugurated a new solar power generation plant on the island of St. Thomas on Wednesday.

Located in Estate Donoe, the new facility, which during testing peaked at 4.2 MW, will provide up to 5% of the island’s current base load capacity during daylight hours.

WAPA CEO Hugo V. Hodge, Jr., said the addition of the solar farm and a similar installation on St. Croix that was dedicated in 2014 continued the authority’s effort to diversify its generation resources.

"We are one of a handful of islands in the Caribbean region that can proudly say that we no longer depend on 100% fuel oil to generate electricity for our residents and businesses. Our efforts continue to complete the propane fuel conversion in both districts and we will continue to add solar, propane and other fuel types along with some wind and biomass as is feasible."

Hodge said WAPA’s ultimate goal was to provide "reliable electrical and water service to our rate-payers at the most affordable rates."

WAPA has signed a 25-year solar power purchase agreement with Colorado-based Main Street Power, which it said was part of its strategy to deploy solar, propane and other renewables to reduce ratepayer costs. Main Street Power will manage the operations and maintenance of the facility for the duration of the agreement in partnership with WAPA.