NRG Energy has completed the installation of the Spanish Town Estate Solar Project on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Spanish Town Estate facility will generate 4 megawatts of clean, emission-free energy, enough to power the 1500 homes under the U.S. Virgin Island Water and Power Authority (WAPA).
The ground-mounted photovoltaic power plant is connected directly to the new Gregory E. Willocks Substation, located on the same premises.
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During the inaugural ceremony, NRG executives joined representatives from project partners Toshiba International Corporation and WAPA to tour the Spanish Town Estate facility and the new substation.
This project will be a milestone toward the U.S. Virgin Islands and St. Croix achieving their renewable energy goal to reduce fossil fuel-based energy consumption by 60 percent over the next decade.
During construction, the project created nearly 100 local jobs, bringing in around $3 million into the economy.
Now home to NRG’s first solar facility in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Spanish Town Estate stands out as an example of how Caribbean nations can tap the power of the sun to provide clean energy to residents without compromising the island’s natural beauty, said Edouard MacGuffie, vice president of development, NRG Renew Caribbean region.
Like several of the other green energy initiatives that the Authority is pursuing, this project will result in lowering energy costs, said, Hugo Hodge, executive director, U.S. Virgin Island Water and Power Authority.
It will generate clean solar power for delivery to WAPA customers, and help the Virgin Islands and St. Croix achieve the renewable energy goals for the coming years, added Hodge.
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With the Spanish Town Estate facility, Toshiba worked with project owner NRG since the initial agreement with WAPA in 2012 and continued with a mission to bring environmentally friendly options for energy generation to the U.S. Virgin Islands, said Mark Lonkevych, business unit manager, Toshiba.
Toshiba served as the lead engineering, procurement and construction through completion while NRG, through its subsidiaries, is now the sole owner of the Spanish Town Estate facility.
This is NRG’s first public solar facility in the U.S. Virgin Islands, proving its commitment to the region, expanding NRG’s efforts in the Caribbean.
Further plans include solar projects in Haiti; a solar installation which will begin next year in St. John and a micro-grid installation under development on Necker Island.