NRG Energy Inc. announced the acquisition of the 4-MWac Spanish Town Estate Solar project on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) from Toshiba International Corporation. Once completed, the power will be sold to the U.S. Virgin Island Water and Power Authority (WAPA) under a 25-year power purchase agreement. The project also is expected to help the USVI achieve their renewable energy goals to reduce its fossil fuel based energy consumption by 60 percent over the next 10 years.
Like many islands in the Caribbean, St. Croix benefits from abundant sunlight with an average of 12 daily hours of sun throughout the year, which highlights the potential for solar generation in this area. This project expands NRG’s efforts in the Caribbean region with utility-scale solar and distributed solar projects in Haiti and St. John, and a microgrid installation in progress on Necker Island.
“We are extremely excited to partner with WAPA in paving the road for the development of this and other renewable energy capacity on St. Croix,” said Tom Doyle, president of NRG’s renewable energy business unit. “Not only is solar cost-competitive here, but it provides clean, emission-free power, helping to ensure that the pristine beauty of the island is not compromised by the economic costs and detrimental effects of importing and using fossil fuels. In addition, Toshiba has significant experience working on St. Croix and we look forward to building a long lasting relationship with both WAPA and continuing our interaction with Toshiba.”
Construction of the Spanish Town Estate Solar project began in April of 2014 and is expected to generate enough electricity to power more than 1,500 homes. The solar facility will require no fuel and minimal water. It is expected to create nearly 100 direct and indirect jobs during construction and to inject a total of approximately $3 million into the local economy. With the purchase of the project, NRG, through its subsidiaries, will be the sole owner of the facility, while Toshiba will continue to serve as the lead on engineering, procurement and construction.
“Toshiba International Corporation is pleased to be partnering with an industry-leading renewable energy company like NRG. WAPA will benefit from both NRG’s global power plant operating experience and their reputation as a long-term dependable power provider,” said Mark Lonkevych, Business Unit Manager of Toshiba International Corporation. “Toshiba looks forward to working with NRG to bring low cost renewable energy to the USVI and other islands in the Caribbean community.”
— Solar Builder magazine