The Virgin Islands Energy Office shares news on wind and solar power. It also informs the public about energy savings at the 2014 Housing Expo and the impressive Food Town Supermarket energy project in La Grande Princesse.
Win Energy Savings at Housing Expo
The theme this year for the 2014 Housing Expo is “Go Green and Build Dreams.” It will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 28, at the UVI Sports & Fitness Center on St. Thomas. Exhibitors will include realtors, bands/mortgage lenders, contractors/developers, insurance agencies, hardware and building suppliers, and solar and green products distributors.
Residents can win energy efficient appliances at the Housing Expo. Everyone who turns in an energy survey at the VI Energy Office table will be eligible for the drawing prizes of a free washer and dryer. The drawing will be held at 3 p.m.
The cost of solar panels has fallen; solar panels today are about half as cheap as they were in 2008.
The technical resource potential of the winds above U.S. coastal waters is enough to provide over 4,000 gigawatts of electricity, or approximately four times the generating capacity of the current U.S. electric power system. Although not all of these resources will be developed, this represents a major opportunity to provide power to highly-populated coastal cities.
Virgin Islands Grocery Store Energy Project Earns Praise
Virgin Islands energy officials are applauding the strategy behind the recent Food Town Supermarket project in La Grande Princesse.
“Food Town put energy efficiency first and alternative energy second; the perfect one-two punch,” said Don Buchanan, V.I. Energy Office spokesman.
Onaje Jackson, president of Sustainable Systems and Design International, said, “You have to give Food Town credit. They made an investment that we think is a model for the Virgin Islands commercial sector.”
Yes, the project does include a 100-killowatt, solar-PV system. Food Town invested a quarter-million dollars in it, and it will provide 30 per cent of store’s power. It will pay for itself in three years. But that was just the final step in a project which began a year and half ago with walk through audit conducted by Jackson’s company.
Food Town owners were not only looking for energy efficiency and producing some of their own energy; they had a business plan to provide the highest quality products at competitive prices in a world-class facility.
The first step was a half-million dollar investment in a combination of store beautification and energy efficiency upgrades. The completed "face lift" and replacement of existing lights and refrigerated cases with new, high-efficiency equipment has resulted in a bright, highly inviting, customer shopping experience plus a 20 percent reduction in storewide power demand.
“We urge all businesses who come to us to do an energy audit first. No energy is cheaper than the energy you don’t use,” said Karl Knight, director of the Virgin Islands Energy Office.” He continued, “Food Town, by looking comprehensively at its business, was able to integrate intelligent, energy efficiency upgrades in an economic way that will translate into lower prices for its customers.”
According to Jackson, the third phase of Food Town’s smart energy program is the upgrade of its central refrigerated line system (multiple compressors that provide the "cold lines" for all refrigerated / freezer units) which will result in approximately 35 percent added reduction in total power demand. Once complete, the total power contribution from the solar system will increase to approximately 45 per cent.
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