The University of the Virgin Islands will soon become a leader in renewable energy generation through a power purchase agreement (PPA) with New Generation Power (NGP) USVI. NGP will produce three megawatts of power for UVI’s two campuses and assist in reducing the institution’s dependence on fossil fuel by 50 percent by 2015. The photovoltaic system will use approximately 4.2 acres on the St. Thomas Campus and 3.9 acres on the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix. The system is expected to produce 4.5 million kilowatt-hours annually.
The "UVI Goes Solar: A Solar Power Agreement Signing Ceremony" at 11 a.m. was held on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 on the St. Thomas Campus. "This is a historic and transformative development for the University and the Virgin Islands," said UVI President David Hall. "Once this project is completed, UVI will have blazed a trail that many universities throughout the world are destined to follow. Energy consumption and costs are crippling challenges facing the Virgin Islands and the broader Caribbean; and this initiative will create a pathway for addressing the problems," Dr. Hall continued. "The educational partnership with NGP and the Illinois Institute of Technology Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation will provide opportunities for our students and faculty to engage in cutting-edge research in the area of renewable energy," said Dr. Hall.
"We praise UVI and their staff for their vision in the adoption of solar energy and for being a leading catalyst for green power in the Virgin Islands," said Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria, chairman of New Generation Power, USVI. He added that NGP is excited to launch their new subsidiary, Veriown Energy, which will operate UVI’s distributive power generation.
UVI’s Energy Manager Courtney Mayes said UVI’s photovoltaic system will help the institution to continue to be the leading University in the Caribbean in green technology. "Generating much of our power needs through renewable energy will help UVI become more sustainable and less dependent on the fluctuating costs of fossil fuels," Mayes said. She added that the switch will not only reduce UVI’s energy costs but also UVI’s carbon footprint. "This will make UVI better stewards of the environment – reducing our emissions and pollution – and promoting cleaner air, wind and water," Mayes said.
As part of the 20-year PPA, New Generation Power USVI will also provide to UVI fixed and portable renewable energy labs and solar-powered charging stations for electric vehicles. UVI’s Caribbean Green Technology Center will offer certificate courses in Renewable Energy and a Technician Training program for solar installers.