The Virgin Islands Energy Office Discretionary Grant Program is awarding almost $1 million dollars to local non-profits. On Tuesday, Energy Office (VIEO) staff met with five of the grantees on St. Croix to help them in executing their projects. A post award meeting for the grantees on St. Thomas will be held soon.
The Energy Office was able to move into a higher gear for the grant program last year. Individual grants had a cap of $50,000 (up from $20,000), and the total allocation was moved up from the $215,000 to $1,000,000. Additionally, the scope of the program was expanded to allow a wide range of energy saving or energy producing interventions to be made.
Joseph Daniel, energy operations coordinator at the VIEO, said, “The meeting Tuesday went very well. The grantees asked a lot of relevant questions and are now in a better position to execute their projects.”
The program targeted non-profits organizations since in general their financial resources are limited. It is also believed that because these organizations play a big part in the community and have the capacity to share their benefits and information with large numbers of residents, the program will move forward the mission of the Energy Office.
The program was launched with a workshop in November 2009 and applications closed in September 2010. A first group of grants were awarded last year. With these latest awards it brings the total to eighteen non-profit organizations receiving $849,232. The organizations represent schools, churches, community foundations, TV stations, baby homes, legal services, university continuing education, animal welfare and environmental stations.
Of particular interest was the wide range of technologies used. These include wind, solar systems, solar water heating, LED lighting, compact fluorescent and high efficiency fluorescent T8s, Sola-Tube day lighting, solar outdoor lighting, insulating radiant barrier window film, ceiling insulation and high efficiency air-conditioning (with cutting edge features such as variable refrigerant flow zoning technology and inverter driven variable speed compressors).The net result of the application of these technologies not only includes energy savings but has the potential to lower the V.I.’s carbon footprint and set new standards for the territory.
Daniel said, “When one considers that many of the projects have life cycles of 15 to 25 years, the projected energy savings of 843,087kWh per annum for projects approved to date can make a difference.”
The larger financial amount of the grants allowed grantees to opt for bigger energy producing systems. These included a 10kW wind generator and a 10kW PV system. Systems of this size will contribute significantly to the energy needs of the organizations. Daniel also explained that a number of grantees were able to adopt energy conservation as well as energy production strategies while others, like Legal Services of the Virgin Islands, used multiple conservation approaches such as insulating radiant barrier window film, ceiling insulation, solar water heating and solar outdoor lighting at a cost way below the funding limit.
For more information, call Joseph Daniel at 714-8436