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Solar Panels


March 28, 2013 12:17PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 31

Any bussinesses out there utilizing solar panels? cool

Re: Solar Panels

March 28, 2013 04:32PM

Registered: 11 years ago
Posts: 1,899

Re: Solar Panels

March 28, 2013 04:39PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 31

Sky, i was able to find an older thread about solar panels..... i found a couple solar panel websites on USVI as well. I think i'm good.. i kept hearing about the outrageous WAPA bills.. but solar panels should help out nicely

Re: Solar Panels

Exit Zero
March 29, 2013 12:42AM

Registered: 10 years ago
Posts: 2,255

This article raises some interesting points about what customers who have solar net metering are costing the rest of the consumers.

Re: Solar Panels

March 29, 2013 06:37AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 6,524

Exit Zero
This article raises some interesting points about what customers who have solar net metering are costing the rest of the consumers.

EZ: As you know, this is the third in a series on the subject and I was just about to link it when I saw you beat me to the punch. big grin The series is very well researched and written - and a "must read and follow" for anyone either involved with or leaning towards being involved with the net metering program.

Re: Solar Panels

April 01, 2013 05:12AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 23

Many of us are engaged in a practice which we were taught by our parents, who were taught by their parents (and so on), and we have probably also taught this practice to our children. Said practice is the following: when we get a paycheck, for money that we don’t have an immediate need for in cash, we leave that money in a bank, with the knowledge (or hope if we live in Cyprus) that when we need that money tomorrow it will be available to us. The bank effectively provides us with a service supplying us with a “safe” place to store our cash reserves. We, in turn, know that the bank is going to use our cash reserves so that they can make money (investments, capital for loans that will generate interest, etc). So we have made an investment (time, effort, blood, sweat & tears) to establish and maintain those reserves, with the knowledge that when we don’t maintain them … well the bank may very well hit us with some fees (overdraft, etc.), which may sound reasonable (to an extent) since we are drawing from their reserves and not our own. The price we pay for the services provided.

Now imagine getting a letter from the bank stating that any money remaining in our account at midnight on December 31st would be automatically forfeited to the bank and our account balance would be reset to zero. Does that sound reasonable? I would argue that many of us would not find that to be a fair banking practice.

Well that’s exactly what WAPA (and many other utility companies) do with net-metering customers. Excess energy generated by customer-owned renewable systems is fed back into the grid and the customer is given credits from which they can draw upon when needed, that is until midnight on December 31st when those credits are forfeited to the utility and the account balance is reset to zero. Does that sound reasonable? In this case, some could argue that it is a fair business practice … to a degree.

The article “Hidden Cost of Net Metering” referenced in this thread leads in its very first sentence with an affirmation from a representative of the Virgin Islands Energy Office asserting that “Water and Power Authority’s net-metering program is, at the end of the day, a subsidy”. To back up that argument the representative goes on to state:

• “There’s two parts to the cost of electricity: the cost of fuel and the cost of the utility’s overhead”
• “There is a certain amount of money the authority must pay in salaries, maintenance, insurance, etc. The problem is that the way the program is run, net-metering customers are not paying their share of that cost, leaving average ratepayers to make up the difference.”
• “If they [net-meeting customers] produce as much or more than they consume, they aren’t charged for any electricity at all. In that case, they do not pay the base-rate fee to maintain WAPA’s generators and power lines, even though power is flowing to their homes from the utility for large portions of the day.”
• “Their [net-meeting customers] portion of WAPA’s overhead is then redistributed to customers who are not in the net-metering program, which they see as a higher base-rate fee.”

Neither the author of the article nor the sources that he has consulted with, and quoted, make any allusion to the aforementioned forfeiture mechanism. Energy that has been forfeited to the utility has already been distributed to customers and paid for by said customers, so the utility has made money from it while the net-metering customer(s) who generated and forfeited that energy will not receive any economic benefit from that portion of their investment. Is the market value of the forfeited energy enough to offset those overhead costs that the article states that net-metering customers don’t pay? I don’t have the numbers so I really can’t say. At the very least, part of those costs are indeed offset through forfeiture. At the other end of the spectrum, the costs are not only completely offset, but the utility makes additional profit from the forfeited energy. Perhaps it’s somewhere in-between? Only the utility has the numbers to make a qualified and quantified analysis and state the results.

Have they done the analysis? I would bet they have.

Have they stated the results? I would bet they haven’t. At least they didn’t to the journalist who wrote the article.

Or maybe he just.didn’t.ask.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/01/2013 05:16AM by Dareo.

Re: Solar Panels

April 01, 2013 08:39AM

Registered: 7 years ago
Posts: 495

Very well said. In other words, WAPA doesn't want to pay its WAPA bill. They concede that the value of their electricity is far less than the price they charge for it.

I love that they admit that paying customers for the electricity they generate amounts to a subsidy. By that argument our LEAC is a subsidy, or more accurately, a tax.


Your Wapa bill is a tax. The WAPA tax.

I simply cannot understand the impulse of net-metering customers to enter into an agreement with WAPA, a criminal and fraudulent organization, under terms that WAPA sets. Anyone wishing to reduce their bill should just get off the grid period. These noisy ugly windmills that spend so much of their time inoperative and which do not provide electricity when the power is out, which cost so much to install and permit and so on, are putting enough of a dent in WAPAs numbers that WAPA is now rewriting the rules by which customers found a modicum of relief.

Reduce your demand, generate as much of your own electricity as you can to cover your basics and thereby insulate yourself from the WAPA mafia.

Re: Solar Panels

April 01, 2013 12:31PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 6,524

The continuing series on the Source should be required reading ...

Re: Solar Panels

April 02, 2013 07:24AM

Registered: 11 years ago
Posts: 988

There's a difference between bad management, and fraud, and lack of foresight and money. They are just like all of us who have lacked the same foresight and cash, -who still drive gas hogs and haven't yet put up solar panels, and hope someone else will solve the crisis (read: pay the bill).

Customer service aside, Wapa has been handcuffed by a bad grid, old technology, and a broke govt. in a bad economy, and having to operate in a tropical environment with expensive fuel. They did propose a trash and biomass power plant, which the Guv screwed up by hitching to suspect Alpine and failing to address fly ash.


Net metering had always had a cap number. If your alt-energy salesman didn't tell you that, it's not WAPA's fault. I knew about it by attending VIEnergy's free conference years ago. It's not WAPA, its just grid science.

VIEnergy Office published a report over two years ago outlining the limits of alt-energy and grids, --even modernized grids, and a grid fed by utility-sized solar/wind installations. They outlined solutions, all of which cost hundreds of millions of dollars, --a steep price for a 100,000 pop.

Despite some claims, few locations on STX can generate enough Solar/Wind to fulfill 100% of a big house or business' consumption. (Unless you can afford or have space for a large installation.)

Net metering means WAPA is your battery. When it goes down, it is cheaper to install a small diesel generator to handle occasional power outages, than to install your own reasonably sized battery storage system.

Home installations and net metering never were conceived as a solution for WAPA. They had to be forced to do it. It's a sideshow distraction for them, and as shown, a "loss leader" designed by others to jump-start the alt-energy discussion and industry on the islands. Net metered customers do pay hookup, meter and monthly connection and billing fees. And they are clean energy suppliers.

Question: Does WAPA charge its other "suppliers" a grid charge? Do the oil barges get charged?


If I'm the USVI govt, I'd float a bond to replace the entire grid, build an LG port (to generate the base load), and recoup the bonds by all the new jobs(taxes) a complete rebuild would create.

Re: Solar Panels

April 02, 2013 11:03AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,054

Here's the latest installment.[] - Limits to Green Energy May Curtail Future Net Metering -

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