WAPA announces short list of companies for solar energy production

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ST. THOMAS - The V.I. Water and Power Authority has narrowed the latest round of proposals for large solar arrays to supplement the territory's power grid down to six applicants.

Last year, several large-scale solar contracts were terminated before they began, delaying a $65 million solar investment by about a year.

A new round of bid requests was issued in December for 9 megawatts of solar energy production - 3 megawatts for St. Croix and 6 megawatts for the St. Thomas-St. John District.

Nine companies responded to the new Request for Proposals, and WAPA's bid evaluation committee narrowed the results to six: Toshiba International; Solential Energy Solutions; CGC Inc.; Caribbean Energy Opportunities; Microgrid Solar; and Pure Logic.

WAPA now will begin negotiations with the short-listed companies.

"I am extremely pleased with the quality of the proposals we have received, and the authority remains committed to diversifying its energy portfolio by bringing renewable and alternative energy sources to the grid," Hugo Hodge Jr. said in a written statement.

The company or companies selected will sell solar power to WAPA. Under the terms of the agreement, the companies will build, install and maintain their systems at their own cost, and will bear the responsibility of technological upgrades as needed.

In June 2012, WAPA signed multiple contracts with three companies to provide 18 megawatts of solar energy territorywide, including a 20-year power purchase agreement with Toshiba International Corp. for the integration of about 4 megawatts of solar energy into St. Croix's electrical grid.

After that 20 years, WAPA can either purchase the solar system or renegotiate the purchase agreement, according to the utility.

Ground was broken on the Toshiba project in Spanish Town Estate, St. Croix, one year ago.

WAPA also had signed power purchase agreements with Sun Edison for 25 years and Lanco Virgin Islands for 20 years, but those contracts were terminated for various reasons, including disputes during contract negotiations.

- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email alewin@dailynews.vi.

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