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crhs78
(@crhs78)
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Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 58
July 28, 2011 5:42 pm  

Solar power works great if you can afford the $50K + installation costs. A grid tiered 2KW system costs about $20 K with about a 50% rebate.

If we had some reasonable financing options there would be a lot more solar.

WAPA has no incentive to bring us less expensive more reliable energy. There is no, nor will they allow any direct competition.

@ Tommy B and crhs78, Bombi explains why. Pretty much only the well-to-do can afford solar power.

how about wind power?...thats pretty big back home in washington state and in some parts of the midwest


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Novanut
(@Novanut)
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July 28, 2011 9:21 pm  

Wind is good. With all the hot air coming from Hodge and company there should be enough to generate power for al the islands in the Caribbean!

What about legal recourse? There must be enough hungry lawyers stateside to take on the case of the VI getting raped by the GOB's. How about signed petitions? I would think there are enough unhappy folks out here willing to put their name down to get rid of the current band of thieves, sell the utility to a private company or retool for something more cost effective than oil.

As for Alpine, they just haven't greased enough palms to slide into position.

IMHO


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BeachcomberStt
(@BeachcomberStt)
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Posts: 1017
July 28, 2011 10:13 pm  

There is a Govt. & WAPA Rant page on Facebook. JFUI

Rant all you want, but that gets you nowhere. Petitions sounds good.


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onthespot
(@onthespot)
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July 28, 2011 10:33 pm  

I saw a cool website, solarstik.com, but have not seen the product nor called to ask about it. It is a combo wind and solar, portable, able to go on boats, or break down and store neatly in case of hurricane, or prolonged leave. The cheapest was under 7k, which is STILL quite a bit of $$$ but nowhere near $50k...


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crhs78
(@crhs78)
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July 29, 2011 12:11 am  

I saw a cool website, solarstik.com, but have not seen the product nor called to ask about it. It is a combo wind and solar, portable, able to go on boats, or break down and store neatly in case of hurricane, or prolonged leave. The cheapest was under 7k, which is STILL quite a bit of $$$ but nowhere near $50k...

i saw some ideas here but they were still spendy there are some solar/wind hybrid systems...its crazy what the price on some of these are

http://www.bergey.com/


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stiphy
(@stiphy)
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July 29, 2011 2:14 pm  

I saw a cool website, solarstik.com, but have not seen the product nor called to ask about it. It is a combo wind and solar, portable, able to go on boats, or break down and store neatly in case of hurricane, or prolonged leave. The cheapest was under 7k, which is STILL quite a bit of $$$ but nowhere near $50k...

i saw some ideas here but they were still spendy there are some solar/wind hybrid systems...its crazy what the price on some of these are

http://www.bergey.com/

Great link, I think the 7.5kw remote home system would be what I would want to cut my independence on Wapa. Here's my analysis: The price is roughly $65,000 for this kit. You then have to add in the cost for shipping and installation which they say can range from $4,000 to $25,000. Let's use the $25,000 number as we all know building and shipping is expensive here. So the cost of the kit is $90,000 installed and shipped. The big thing with off the grid systems is the batteries. They mention they use 40 Trojan L16's which my research indiicates have a life span of around 5 years or so (I've seen different claims on different websites...5 is a conservative average). These run around $350 each to replace plus shipping at current cost (who know's what it will cost in 5 years though). Let's just say $400/battery to get them on island. So every 5 years you have to have $16,000 saved up to replace your batteries which comes to $266/month that you need to set aside to be able to replace the batteries every 5 years. Let's assume the lifespan of the rest of the kit is 20 years and that you can get a loan for that amount on the $65,000 initial cost at 6%. You'r monthly payment would be $644.79 for the kit.

So basically you are at a monthly cost of $910.79/month for this 7.5kw system. This would buy you 2023 kw per month with Wapa at the current .45/kwh rate. If you use less than that Wapa is still a better deal. If you use more than that this could work out to your favor. But that is quite a bit of electricity, I'm not sure how much more than than this could a 7.5kw system keep up with.

Now lets not forget about the intangibles. You now have a tower in your yard with a wind turbine on it that YOU are responsible for. If it gets damaged you must come up with the money to fix it. You may be able to insure this but that would have to be tacked onto the monthly bill. When a hurricane comes you would be responsible for dismantling the tower. While Wapa isn't the most reliable utility in the world, at least when an issue happens you just have to call them, not so if you are off the grid. If your inverter or battery bank fails YOU have to fix it or pay someone to do so. You also need to have the dedicated space for the battery bank and other equipment along with the space for the tower.

On the upside there are likely tax breaks that lessen the cost on the individual for this system. Even if you could get 50% back though it would still be tough to justify doing this, AND someone has to pay the other 50% (the taxpayers) so it's a net loss to society.

My conclusion remains that currently Wapa is still a better deal for most scenarios than going out on your own and putting up wind power. Solar usually breaks down simliarly. It all sounds good in theory but the economics aren't there.

It is very hard to beat a utility and it's economy of scale when it comes to power generation. That said, the fact that it is even close is a disgrace to the state of Wapa and where we are at now in the VI. I wish I had a positive answer but I can't come up with any that don't involve reforming this sad utility.

Sean


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onthespot
(@onthespot)
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July 29, 2011 4:48 pm  

And comparing WAPA to the utilities in the states is not really equitable because the mainland utilities have not had their entire infrastructures anihilated by hurricanes a few times over in the past couple decades. If we wiped out the infrastructure of the entire US, a few times over, and had to rebuild, let's see how high power would be stateside then.


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Lucy
 Lucy
(@Lucy)
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July 29, 2011 5:48 pm  

Solar PV can be installed in the USVI for $7.50 per watt of power. This has come down substantially over the last few years.

So, a 1 kW system would be about $7,500.00 and would be able to power a hair dryer --> if the sun is shining brightly. And what about stormy days and a night. You then need batteries. Wind power is the same. Sometimes the wind just does not blow.

So, you really need some other "primary" and "reliable" energy source to count on for 24/7 operations.

At least with the Alpne Energy project, we get:

- up-to-date technology (...which should mean better reliability)
- the ability to run 24 / 7
- No or little landfilling of the waste as it is turned in Refuse Derived Fuel, materials for recycling and fines (dirt, sand, etc.)

Why does it drag on. Because it is different and would be a change. No one likes change or different.


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Neil
 Neil
(@Neil)
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July 30, 2011 12:58 pm  

The piece that some are missing is that you can "Net Meter" any home solar or wind installation, and forgo the installation of expensive batteries.

Net metering involves sending your generated power BACK into the WAPA grid, and receiving a 1 for 1 kw credit on your bill. Thus, on a good month you can build up credits, even if you don't use them all, and on a bad month, you can draw on your credits to lower your bill.

Battery systems are what really blow up the cost of solar and wind. As was told to me by a local expert: it's cheaper to have a small generator for the times the grid goes down than to have batteries (which would only store enough electricity for a day or so anyway).

The other thing missing in some calculations are the tax rebates.

All this said, Govt/Utility -side alternative energy production is the answer. Economies of scale, and all.


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East Ender
(@east-ender)
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stiphy
(@stiphy)
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August 1, 2011 2:48 pm  

The piece that some are missing is that you can "Net Meter" any home solar or wind installation, and forgo the installation of expensive batteries.

Net metering involves sending your generated power BACK into the WAPA grid, and receiving a 1 for 1 kw credit on your bill. Thus, on a good month you can build up credits, even if you don't use them all, and on a bad month, you can draw on your credits to lower your bill.

Battery systems are what really blow up the cost of solar and wind. As was told to me by a local expert: it's cheaper to have a small generator for the times the grid goes down than to have batteries (which would only store enough electricity for a day or so anyway).

The other thing missing in some calculations are the tax rebates.

All this said, Govt/Utility -side alternative energy production is the answer. Economies of scale, and all.

The last time I checked the net metering program in the VI the credits were capped so low that the program really wasn't worth it. If you were using solar and not at home during the day at all it was hard to justify the cost of putting up the panels. I didn't do the full investigation with wind and things may have changed, I'd love any firsthand information that someone could provide on the effectiveness of net metering.

My concern is that if you are relying on net metering you are relying on Wapa to keep up their end of the bargain. I remember several years ago that early on in the net metering program they ended it without warning, then restarted it. I just don't know if Wapa can be trusted to enter into what is essentially a power generation business relationship. They could end net metering leaving you stuck with the financing of your wind/solar equipment that is basically useless without putting in batteries.

Sean


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Jeff Kruse
(@Jeff_Kruse)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 51
August 2, 2011 8:45 pm  

I put in a 2K off grid system at my house in Puerto Rico two years ago. I had everything shipped to me from ABQ, NM. All said and done it cost just under $17K. I did all the work myself. I use about 6 - 8KWH a day and have no AC. It's not cheap but I am not well to do. Prices have come down a little since then. I love it when the neighborhood power goes out.

http://thekrusechronicles.blogspot.com/


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Justletmesignon
(@Justletmesignon)
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Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 10
August 3, 2011 6:27 am  

Reading about WAPA tactics, makes it easier to understand why fewer typical citizens migrate to live full time/retire in USVI. Electric rates are outrageous even with mindful conservation of power use, and efficient home equipment. It would seem realistic that in addition to those many that have already departed unhappy with the overall management of resources there, that a mass exodus is on the horizon at some point. The recession will get worse regardless of recent mainland changes, too little, too late. The ripple effect will reach USVI in every way.
Fewer arrivals, fewer customers, fewer available people to sustain a reasonable life there, will end up in a complete downward spiral. Tourists will then not come, as nothing is unique about sea and water, also everywhere in Florida and all the area near you too. That means even less income than now, going to those benefiting from ships /tourists, AND, where these people in turn spend locally at non existent shops and businesses that closed or left. A shame.


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onthespot
(@onthespot)
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 380
August 3, 2011 11:33 am  

That's the way I see it too. That is why St. Croix really needs to step up their game in agriculture. It is said that the people who mostly made their fortunes during the Gold Rush in AK and CA were the people who fed the miners. (well, and the prostitutes, LOL) but my point is, I think that the VI will be a much different place ten years from now, with a noticeably different socioeconomic structure, different emphases on types of work, and the flow of mony will find different pathways, different levels, create new pools of weath, as well as some ever growing dry spots until the local economy evens out as it must eventually. Neither "good" nor "bad", it just is. Those that react will thrive, those that stand flat footed, eyes wide and asking "what happened? and why me?" will not fare so well.


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Juanita
(@Juanita)
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Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 3111
August 5, 2011 4:03 pm  

Disconnected 5 meters in Jan. Still no deposit refund. Like an idiot, I paid the last bill before the disconnect, so they owe me money.

We are going to disconnect some more meters next month, so I'm just not going to pay the bill I have that is due Aug. 2. We'll see how that goes. I'm betting late charges. Funny how that only works one way.

Reported a security light out in April, 2010. Not fixed yet, and NO refund. Get this...they tell us that when they get the light fixed, then they will give us a credit for the entire length of time the light was out, and BTW..."Keep paying the bill... We're coming to you." At least we should get interest on the deposits they haven't refunded yet, but on a service refund, for over a year....nada!

Yeah, tommy, we all just LUV wapa!

Notice in my previous post, I said the bills were due Aug. 2. That's the due date on the bills. I just got the late notices, saying they are 20 days late (today is Aug. 5....I can subtract, and that's 3 days, plus the notice was dated Aug. 4, so just 2 days). Must be paid by 10 days from the date of the late notice, so I'm calculating Aug. 14. But with their strange math, I better check on it!

BTW, I called to discuss my "past due" refunds...and was told I would be called back. That was Tuesday...still waiting...

Juanita


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chefnoah
(@chefnoah)
Trusted Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 531
August 5, 2011 6:12 pm  

Just for fun

My current employer buys onions from this company that converts onion waste into fuel that powers their plant. Then they sell that by-product to cattle lots.

Onion juice energy

Saves them $700,000 annually in electric costs and their initial investment of $10.8 mil will be paid off in 6 years.

Now if only the VI could process sea grapes.... 😀

Noah

Noah
Signature user since right now


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IslandHops
(@IslandHops)
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Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 929
August 5, 2011 6:18 pm  

The icing on the cake is that they have cut back customer service hours and are now closed on Saturdays too. 8% pay cut = you get to feel our pain too.


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usvi4me
(@usvi4me)
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Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 6
August 5, 2011 10:05 pm  

What's yellow and sleeps 5????

A WAPA truck 😀


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A Davis
(@A_Davis)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 687
August 5, 2011 11:19 pm  

What's yellow and sleeps 5????

A WAPA truck 😀

forgive my cross-posting, just following this bugger around to speak my piece...

this is the joke that i first heard following the workers' efforts to restore power after a storm, with the crews working double shifts and sometimes having to grab a cat nap - they worked into the nights through weekends, including sundays, while people were claiming that they were loafing. i saw them working very hard to restore power. i was out for several days myself.

it is a shame that our anger at the powers that be spills out into such a "joke" that creates antipathy towards the very people who actually keep us in power when the system, in all its outdated glory, fails.

suffice it to say, i don't think this is funny. nice to be anonymous on the world wide web so you can say nasty things and not have to account for them. looks like you registered just to post this too.

best to you,
anita.
"do the best that you can in the place where you are, and be kind."
--- scott nearing


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SunnyCaribe
(@SunnyCaribe)
Advanced Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 495
August 6, 2011 5:11 pm  

And comparing WAPA to the utilities in the states is not really equitable because the mainland utilities have not had their entire infrastructures anihilated by hurricanes a few times over in the past couple decades. If we wiped out the infrastructure of the entire US, a few times over, and had to rebuild, let's see how high power would be stateside then.

Not true. The costs of rebuilding the distribution system after storms is largely paid for by disaster relief money, although WAPA is quick to use the hurricane justification every time a LEAC increase is on the table.

Additionally, the entire territory could have underground power distribution with little or no cost to the user or the utility. Corruption and intransigence are all that stand in the way.


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IslandHops
(@IslandHops)
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Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 929
August 8, 2011 12:33 pm  

Anita - how about this one...

Q. Whats white and sleeps two?

A. An Innovative service van.

(please don't loose your sense of humor)


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noOne
(@noOne)
Trusted Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 1495
August 8, 2011 4:05 pm  

My father had a t-shirt he liked a lot. It said:

God said let there be light!
WAPA said not a chance!


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A Davis
(@A_Davis)
Trusted Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 687
August 8, 2011 7:24 pm  

Anita - how about this one...

Q. Whats white and sleeps two?

A. An Innovative service van.

(please don't loose your sense of humor)

i think i have a pretty good sense of humor.

best to you,
anita.
"do the best that you can in the place where you are, and be kind."
--- scott nearing


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JoeyBallgame
(@JoeyBallgame)
Advanced Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 93
August 8, 2011 9:31 pm  

I have only been living on STT for 2 weeks now, but from what I have quickly learned about WAPA, there is no way in my mind that the Virgin Islands can consider themselves United States.

An abortion like WAPA would never be tolerated back in the States.

As you were.


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sugarlander
(@sugarlander)
Advanced Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 199
August 9, 2011 1:14 am  

This is a recent article in The Source regarding energy costs in the VI.

Energy Office Director Karl Knight said Saturday said “With the community's support, the territory will be able to reach the ambitious goal of cutting fossil fuel usage by 25 percent”

Sure. With the high prices, usage will go down because most won’t be able to afford electricity.

Merchants and commercial buildings hold the greatest potential for reduction, he said,

Really? Most commercial buildings are leased and the landlord isn’t incentivized to implement energy reduction projects.

“Little things that the audience members have heard many times can add up to big savings, he said, including replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, putting in low-flow shower heads and faucets, putting a timer on the water heater (if the heater hasn’t already been replaced by a solar system,) making sure all appliances are Energy Star rated, and unplugging "energy vampires” – chargers and other items that draw power even when they're not in use.”

Nothing new here. I think most of the readers on this board have gone well beyond this.


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