Why is solar not bi...
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Why is solar not bigger on the VI?

Posts: 3904
Famed Member

The original question was "Why is solar not bigger on the VI?" No Huh necessary. It's not bigger here because of the cost. The cost won't go down until it's more wide-spread everywhere. The costs are more easily absorbed in condo associations where a lot of the units are tourist rented rather than very small complexes that are lived in by owners. What don't you understand?

Posted : December 21, 2007 11:23 am
Posts: 34
Eminent Member

Not to argue cos effeciveness,,,but rather where this technology is going.
Interesting read...
Check this out!


Posted : December 25, 2007 4:46 am
Posts: 1085
Noble Member

One of the problems is that the rebates from the government are ONLY good at dealers in the VI. (This is one of those good old boy deals) If they would let you order the material from the web then get the rebate and then have it installed it would be more popular .

I purchased a small wind mill and I will try to install it this winter. Then I can say to WAPA shove this up your pipe!

Of course WAPA is another animal of neglect and no planning for the future. So we will pay and pay for ever.


Posted : December 25, 2007 3:56 pm
Posts: 2707
Famed Member

ok here's a question for the geeks here on island, i have a well on my property and i would like to run it without using WAPA, i need a power source strong enough to pump the water 180 feet up from underground and through the hoses to my sprinklers,because i don't have to pay for water i water my yard and fruit trees quite a bit as well as fill my cistern. Thanks

Posted : December 25, 2007 5:27 pm
Posts: 1057
Noble Member

Nothing geeky about what you need. Try an old fashioned windmill and a water tower to feed your sprinklers. If you don't know what a windmill is then you aren't from farm country particularly in the mid west or great plains.

The windmills on STX were different in that they were used to crush sugar cane. Same idea just a different design.


Posted : December 25, 2007 6:50 pm
Posts: 2707
Famed Member

lol well i grew up in the cornfields of southern minnesota and if we wanted chicken for dinner we had to catch and kill it and we also had a well but it ran off electricity, none of the 3 farms i lived on had a windmill and i guess i never thought about wind power, i was thinking in the back of my head somewhere if solar would provide the energy needed, but thats why i asked for ideas, thanks

Posted : December 25, 2007 6:57 pm
Posts: 186
Estimable Member

You can use solar for this purpose! We had....2 sets of tri-lams to create 24VT, pv direct to the pump! The pump was a 23VT pump, but can't remember the Brand Name! Maximum rated lift was 180ft., but we did ask more of it! (the pump was at 180ft, but lift up to the storage tank which was at 220ft from the pump). This pump only weighed 6 pounds, so we were to pull it out of the well and put down ourselves, this is a great advantage! In full sun the hose would run like a normal garden hose, would slow when clouds passed. Obviously didn't run without sun!!!!! Our problem was that unfortunately when the well ran dry, the pump would continue to run, we went thru 2 pumps in 10 years. There are wells out there that you would have this problem with! (We have seen them)!
Hope this helps!

Posted : December 26, 2007 11:19 am
Posts: 186
Estimable Member

Wish I could EDIT my post, see now I made a couple of errors! Obviously the pump is 24 volt and I meant to say that there are wells that you WOULDN'T have this problem with! Some wells are constantly producing depending on where the well is located!

Islander, no edit options?

Posted : December 28, 2007 11:45 am
Posts: 1914
Noble Member

Sounds like you're well on your way to utility independance. Check these out www.pacwind.net
Still kinda pricy but cool concept of things to come. I'm just starting to learn about this stuff by starting with solar water heating.

My advice to anyone is to start with anything you can do to reduce your power consumption. I'm not looking at the whole "grid" at one time. I will approach this with small bites that will pay off with reduced WAPA bills and convienience during outages. Panels, batteries, inverters, demand water heaters, compact flourecence bulbs, etc.. can be added as you can afford them. It may really only makes sense if you plan to stay several years in the home for it to pay off but these improvements DO add value to your property and may be deductable if/when you sell the home.

Posted : December 28, 2007 1:07 pm
Posts: 71
Trusted Member

I have really enjoyed this thread about alternative energy here in the VI and elsewhere. I came across this website when searching for renewable energy for my boat. http://www.hydrogenappliances.com/index.html It has a lot of info about inexpensive wind generation and some solar stuff. Not exactly an easy to navigate website, but looks like some really interesting products that would fit most budgets. I have not purchased from these people, so do your own investigating of course. I am impressed with the wind turbines that stack on each other. Plus they have this 12 volt hot water heater element that can be connected directly to a wind turbine. That would pay for it self quick down here I think.
St John

Posted : December 28, 2007 7:51 pm
Posts: 186
Estimable Member

Dear SkyTheLimit and puddlejumper,
Will be sure to ck out both sights! We are always looking for things on the net to add to our work at reducing power consumption from WAPA! We too, have enjoyed this thread, glad it got started! 🙂

Posted : December 29, 2007 12:21 pm
Posts: 63
Trusted Member

For what its worth, I live on a boat in STT and don't pay any WAPA bill - just live on solar and wind power. My wife and I have 360 watts of PV solar panels (cover an area of about 10 or 12 square feet including dead space between panels, and a 5 foot diameter wind generator that puts out about 10% of our total energy supply. We store power in a set of four golf cart batteries. We have to be pretty conservative with our power use - no water heating and no air conditioning. We do laundry ashore. So, I would say that might give people an idea of a fairly minimalistic off-grid system for a family of two - cost is about $1200 for the solar panels, another $1200 for the wind generator, $600 for the batteries (good for about 4 or 5 years), and another $1000 for the wires, meters, fuses, and support structures to make it all work. To make a system big enough for what we percieve to be a "normal" level of power use (but still no A/C!), better increase everything by about 50%; say $6000.

A $6000 system would provide a reliable output of about 3 kWh per day for five years before the batteries would probably need to be replaced. Most people look at a timeline somewhat less than five years for payback on most investments. That makes my off grid power cost (thinking short-term here) a whopping $1.00 per kWh. So I am not surprised that there are not too many solar systems around. Of course household systems can be cheaper if the power company is a reliable supplier and buys back power - don't need the batteries that way. But we ARE talking WAPA, so better keep the batteries in the system!

Posted : December 30, 2007 3:36 pm
Posts: 359
Reputable Member

antilean, how big is this boat? And, I am assuming it's a sailboat and not a powerboat, right?

Posted : December 30, 2007 10:37 pm
Posts: 63
Trusted Member

right, a 43 foot sailboat (monohull) - a fairly typical power system I think, for such a boat. Though some prefer the reliability of a generator despite the noise; most long term live aboard sailors depend on a mix of wind and solar.

Posted : December 31, 2007 12:56 pm
Posts: 264
Reputable Member

We're on board!

Now is the time to go solar!

Our solar business was at the Ag Fair on STX and we took down almost a hundred names of people who had great interest in it. Payoff for systems in 8-10 year range if energy/oil prices follow the trend of going up. Fully utilizing the rebates offered by VI Energy Office/WAPA and net metering now in place, Solar Makes Sense. For base systems the initial cost can be under $10k in year 1 and $5-6k in year two. Panel warrantied for 25 years, expected to work up to 40 or 50. Reliable power, very little maintenance required(unless you get batteries), no emissions, and free energy for decades after its paid off. We will have demo projects on STT and STX by years end and be fully committed to bringing solar power to the territory. Thank You Linda J for posting your bill 🙂 That shows shes paying roughly 33 cents/kwh + 5 dollars! Ouch. 25.5c LEAC!!

Posted by: Linda J (IP Logged)
Date: Today, 12:02PM
OK here you go:

Customer charge $5.00
ONS Charge @ .071317 $28.74
ILOT SUR @ .001950 .79
HB SURCHG@ .00200 .81
ES LEAC @ .254733 $102.66

Total $138

Heres some articles related to the situation:



Posted : February 22, 2008 3:55 pm
Posts: 1866
Noble Member

"Battery technology has come a very long way in recent years!"

Indeed it has, but battery technology still has a long way to go before solar can become a practical replacement for WAPA. On the other hand, we've had a solar water heater for years and have been very pleased with it. As to windmills, make sure your windstorm insurance will cover the damage your flying windmill parts do to your neighbor's property.

Posted : February 22, 2008 4:56 pm
Posts: 264
Reputable Member

A totally independant system and not using WAPA at all is a whole different ballgame. Bigger battery banks are needed and that ups the initial and maintenance & upkeep costs. Net Metering and producing a portion of your own power is what is economically feasable. You produce power during the day and use wapa at night. A small battery bank to cover 90% of the WAPA outages are what most people would go for.

Posted : February 23, 2008 3:30 pm
Posts: 69
Trusted Member

Does anyone know when the WAPA discount is supposed to be reinstated? Sherri mentioned that there is a discount of $700 on a $2500 investment..

Posted : February 26, 2008 3:58 pm
Posts: 264
Reputable Member

$3.50 per watt for solar panels(up to 1k) or $3500 max/per year, and its an active and running program through WAPA and the VIEO.

Posted : February 27, 2008 12:48 am
Posts: 151
Estimable Member

Is that what the WAPA net metering pays you for providing power back to them?
And if yes, is that only if you bought the panels in the USVI versus bringing them in from the mainland?

Posted : February 27, 2008 2:43 pm
Posts: 264
Reputable Member

No, thats the rebate for panels through the VIEO, nothing to do with Net Metering. Net Metering allows you to sell excess power back to WAPA. However there is a time limit to usng the energy credits cause if you dont use them in time, WAPA takes them back.(read below) This is to combat the potential problem of building personal power plants in their backyard and taking all the credits. The credit only applies to the territory, installed by approved vendor, ok'ed by VIEO.

The following is from the DSIRE site http://www.dsireusa.org/

Also be sure to check out the VIEO site here for alot of info http://www.vienergy.org

Incentive Type: State Rebate Program
Eligible Efficiency Technologies: Clothes Washers/Dryers, Refrigerators/Freezers, Ceiling Fan, Lighting, Room Air Conditioners
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Water Heat, Photovoltaics, Wind
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Residential
Incentive Amount: PV: $3.50 per W (limit 1 kW)
Solar Water Heat: $500 - $1000 varies by size
Wind Turbine Generator: 20% off purchase price (up to $3,500)
Sine Wave Inverter: 15% off purchase price
Room Air Conditioners, Ceiling Fans, Clothes Washers and Refrigerators: 20% off purchase price

Expiration Date 9/30/2008
Project Review/Certification Original receipt must accompany the application, and VIEO reserves the right to inspect any installation.

Website: http://www.vienergy.org/

Summary: The Virgin Islands Energy Office's renewable energy and energy efficiency rebate program provides incentives for Virgin Islands residents and businesses to install Energy Star appliances, solar technologies and wind turbine generators. To be eligible for these rebates, the equipment must be purchased from one of the approved vendors listed in the program details. Applicants are limited to receiving rebates on two products per program year.

U.S. Virgin Islands - Net Metering

Last DSIRE Review: 05/02/2007

Incentive Type: Net Metering Rules
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Photovoltaics, Wind
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Residential
Limit on System Size: 10 kilowatts
Limit on Overall Enrollment: 5 MW on St. Croix; 10 MW on St. Thomas, St. John, Water Island and other territorial islands
Treatment of Net Excess: Credited to customer's next bill at utility's retail rate; granted to utility at end of 12-month period
Utilities Involved: U.S. Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA)
Website: http://www.vienergy.org
Authority 1: Net Metering Agreement for Small PV & Wind Systems
Date Enacted: February 2007
Effective Date: July 2007 (tentative)
Expiration Date: July 2008 (tentative)

Posted : February 27, 2008 8:31 pm
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