The Virgin Islands Public Services Commission (PSC) recently approved two solar power companies, Haugland VI and Leeward Energy, as qualified facilities (QF).
Leeward Energy has developed over 20,000 megawatts (MW) of solar power and currently has 2,500 MW in operation and Haugland VI manages a number of local development projects, in addition to performing electrical, utility and civil work.
The recent QF designation is part of a multi-step process that will allow the energy companies to negotiate and enter into a power-purchase agreement with the Virgin Islands Water & Power Authority.
Under the agreement, the selected company will maintain ownership and operation of the solar facility. Leeward Energy is in negotiations with the Authority to sell power at a fixed rate to the Authority.
Haugland VI has not submitted a proposal to the Authority. One of the many benefits of a power-purchase agreement is it funnels renewable energy investment into the Virgin Islands, without the Authority having to shoulder the capital needed for the build out and operations, the utility noted.
The PSC’s approval will help further Governor Albert Bryan’s initiative to transition St. Croix to 100% solar energy, and aid in the long-term Vision 2040 economic strategy for the USVI.
“Prioritization of solar and battery storage will be critical to lowering reliance on expensive and volatile fossil-fuel generation and will help insulate customers from spikes in commodity prices,” the utility said.
While the Authority intends to roll out renewables throughout the USVI, deployment in St. Croix is particularly ideal given the larger and flatter land mass available.
Irrespective of solar farm location however, a territory-wide rate structure ensures all customers will benefit equally from renewable generation, regardless of location, the Virgin Islands Water & Power Authority said.