Cost of Solar
I started a new post as the WAPA one is getting too long. Here is an interesting article about solar power and its cost . http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.05/solar.html?pg=2&topic=solar&topic_set=
I wonder if enough people get together they could make solar power be an option with in reach. Then sell back power to WAPA
Iris: You might want to look into the ongoing debate (and news) through our online newspaper, St Thomas Source. Just do a google to get there.
You can read both the ongoing saga about WAPA and then go the open forum. It might take a bit of time to properly research all the local ins and outs but if you're planning on being a resident here it behooves you to research to the max what you're going to be up against. Cheers and all the best!
Will do thank you. Why would there be someone against solar power? I seen public housing has it on STX. The government would not do this if it was not for savings. I keep hearing about people who have trouble even on the mainland. I am not sure why. I would hope as more and more homes have solar power that will not be a problem in the future.
Hello there. Somewhere in the past few months on this board, mention was made of a man or family that was completely off the grid. I believe it was towards the East end of STX. I also remember reading that he wanted to sell the surpluss back to WAPA, but they wouldn't take it.
I wonder......if someone were to go completely solar, have a surpluss, what would prevent them from wiring into another house and selling them the power? Is there legislation against this? As monopolies are not supported by federal law, I can't see them having a huge beef with it.
Just a couple of thoughts. If my neighbor were cranking out power, I certainly would be the first in line for power.
I wonder if Steffan would be nice enough to chair his experience here on the board. I would love to get in touch with him. Does anyone know him in person. I remember visiting the Studio but I am not sure if they where in. I think Jan does demonstration of her glass work right? I am surprised that Wapa does not buy back power. If I was them I would talk with neighbors and see if they are interested. I gather that would only work if they are not too far apart or have a system which used batteries as well. I think perhaps if more people talk about success stories using Solar others will follow. Our goal would be to be as independent as possible when we are on island. This was also how we decided on our property. It was very important to us that we could garden.
Has anyone tried solar cooking. It seems easy enough to do. A solar power cook off. How cool would that be.
Today in the news
Iris: This discussion has been going on for years, Talk, talk talk! It all sounds so good when these tax-paid "retreats" are conducted. The reality and the follow-through simply don't happen. One of the worst mistakes that the VI Government made many years ago was to turn down the deal offered by Southern Electric to purchase WAPA and run WAPA as an independent supplier.
They came up with a most comprehensive plan (including stabilized electric rates for, I think, five years) and a whole bunch of innovative advances which would reduce the island dependency on oil and reduce costs.
The VI Government, as enmeshed as it is in sweetheart deals and nepotism, turned down the deal and so we still are here paying the highest rate for electricity both under the US flag and other Caribbean islands while the VI Government still owes, at last count, $60 milion to WAPA.
WAPA regularly threatens to cut off power to the government offices, the government then pledges to pay the bills and then the whole cycle continues and just goes on ad nausea.
Cheers and welcome to island life!
Iris and others,
I'm new to the board and not yet a resident. I do know somethings about solar however, and would be happy to share my thoughts.
1) Even though the cost of solar has come down quite a bit, it is still impossibly expensive for the average homeowner to purchase and install. Most estimates (in the states) run between $20k minimum to a high of $100k for the upfront costs, so it's still fairly expensive. It's just not solar cells, it's massive batteries, inverters, and so on. Same components if you go with a wind generator (with out the solar cells of course). The best system has both however.
2) Most folks who spend in the $20K find that they have to be very careful about loads they run and for how long. air conditioning is generally out of the question at that level.
3) A major problem is getting power generated at a home to "sync" with the "grid" power. While I don't know your generating system (WAPA), I can imagine that there are fairly significant and frequent departures for both frequency and voltage regulation. This can be a large problem to control under those conditions. Much easier in the states due an actual grid of many power plants keeping the system stable. This translates into even higher front end costs for the home owner to have fancy regulator / switching systems (could be another $5K or better).
4) In the states, many local utilities have literally been forced by the public utilities commissions to accept "alternative" power from all available sources IF & ONLY IF that power is compatible with the local system. The same may not be true for the USVI and WAPA. It could well be that there is no "regulatory" body that can force WAPA to accept "alternative power generation sources.
5) The best "off grid" systems in your area would be comprised of solar cells, wind generators, and a backup fossil fueled generator ( gas, diesel, LP). It's a matter of cost vs convenience.
Welcome to the "other" world! For an ongoing discussion about alternative power, read our online newspaper, St. Thomas Source - both the "local news" section and the "open forum." Since you're not yet here (but I presume plan on that?) and obviously have knowledge of alternative power, your knowledge and local research could prove very interesting!
WAPA Executive Director Alberto Bruno-Vega just a couple of days ago addressed a local press forum about net-metering which you will probably find most interesting, not to mention obtuse. I shall say no more!
Good Night and Thanks for the Welcome!
Yes, I'm quite definitely thinking about relocating there and am really enjoying this excellent forum and searching through it for answers to my questions.
I'll take a look at the article, but on the advice of many previous posters, I shall endeavor NOT to think I could change a thing or even suggest changes. I certainly wouldn't mind sharing my 20 or so years of experience in power generation and electric utilities with interested folks however.
Thanks again for the welcome!