Sandwiched between the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) and the Lindbergh Bay, Saint Thomas’s Cyril E. King Airport is not short of spectacular landmarks. However, from September 14 inbound passengers will be greeted by another impressive sight: a 1,600-foot-long array of solar panels.
The 450kW system was installed by SolarWorld as part of the latest attempt to combat high energy prices on US island territories. With the Caribbean’s high irradiance levels, PV is one solution to those wishing to circumvent electricity prices that can be as high as $0.40 per kWh.
“Tropical islands may be the stuff of fantasy, but the reality of island electricity rates is driving strong adoption of SolarWorld panels as an effective form of rate relief,” said Kevin Kilkelly, the president of SolarWorld Americas.
Installation of the array’s 1,806 panels was carried out by OneWorld Sustainable alongside UVI students.
Saint Thomas is not the only island set to benefit from SolarWorld panels. On the other side of the globe, 10 schools and seven government buildings on the Pacific Island of American Samoa will soon be generating electricity with the help of 350kW of panels. This project, to be installed by Island Energy and Marine of Pago-Pago, will be the second major project on American Samoa in 2011 – SolarWorld also installed a 24-building 680-kilowatt array.