On Friday, April 14, the Virgin Islands Energy Office (VIEO) broke ground on the construction of a 125 kW Solar plus 300 kWh battery micro-grid at the St. Croix Educational Complex.
The micro-grid will enable the Educational Complex’s emergency hurricane shelter to function reliably during extended grid outages and significantly reduce the use of fossil fuel generators that have proven difficult to maintain and costly to fuel. Additionally, under blue-sky conditions, the solar microgrid will aid in offsetting approximately $6,000 per month in utility costs the school incurs under normal operation.
The project is slated to be completed by August 2023, just ahead of the height of the hurricane season and the beginning of the new school year.
This project is funded through the Department of Interior’s – Energizing Insular Communities (EIC) grant, which is a valuable funding source for all American territories that VIEO has previously used to procure electric vehicles and develop a public charging station network for electronic vehicles.
In attendance at the groundbreaking were various representatives from the Department of Education including Commissioner Dionne Wells-Hedrington and Superintendent Ericilda Ottley-Herman, Gov. Albert Bryan Jr.’s chief of staff Karl Knight and AT Construction project manager Angel Ortiz.
“This project aims to be a catalyst for an aggressive push to diversify the energy mix at educational facilities and critical infrastructure across the territory. As additional federal funding is pursued and successfully awarded to execute more innovative energy projects, the VIEO will continue to collaborate with other agencies and stakeholders to align resources with the highest impact potential to our energy burdened community,” Energy Office Director Kyle Fleming said.
“This is just the beginning of many more projects as we work towards that goal of having our school[s] be able to sustain themselves.” Said Education Commissioner Wells-Hedrington.
“Projects such as this micro-grid build upon the long history of partnership between the Energy Office and VIDE. As the GVI’s largest consumer of electricity and water, its important that when we talk energy, we focus on how we can assist VIDE reach their energy goals.” Said Chief of Staff Knight.
The Bryan-Roach Administration is investing in the territory’s people, infrastructure and future through transparency, stabilizing the economy, restoring trust in the government and ensuring that recovery projects are completed as quickly as possible. Visit https://transparency.vi.gov