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Wondering why no solar?

Travel discussion for St. John

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Wondering why no solar?

Postby PatrickMcc » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:39 am

After reading about electricity costs on the island I am wondering why there appears to be so little solar. I think I saw that Lime Inn had some sort of backup but
I have not noticed solar on villa roofs. Anyone know?
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Re: Wondering why no solar?

Postby tupelodent » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:05 am

There are many villas with solar. Some are totally off grid while others use it just for backups. It all comes down to cost. To do full off grid solar for my villa would cost around 40,000. WAPA stopped net metering a few years ago which doesn't help. We do plan on installing it at some point.
Last edited by tupelodent on Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wondering why no solar?

Postby PA Girl » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:23 am

We had a nice conversation with a solar "guy" while waiting for our to-go order at Sam & Jack's. He said he has more work than he can handle.

In addition to the initial costs, I think the battery bank needs replacing every so many years.
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Re: Wondering why no solar?

Postby PatrickMcc » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:39 am

Glad to hear that there is more than I realized but shocked to see the cost. I see solar grids on houses and along the highways and even at my dump here in Mass. I know from my daughter,s new home that Mass. gives good tax credits for solar and they build credit with the aggregator(utility companies?) in case they have an electric bill at some point. They have lived in their 3000 square foot house in Western Ma.. for a year and a half with three young boys, central air and lots of heat in cold winters and have not yet had an electric bill. They own the solar panels so they get all the credit. The solar company estimated in five years they would recoup their investment but neighbors told them the company is very conservative and others in the neighborhood recouped the investment in under three years. Also they did get a federal tax credit but that expired at the end of 2017 for future solar users.

It would be nice if the VI government could offer some incentives or WAPA could but I am guessing that is not likely to happen. St. John seems like a perfect place for solar.
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Re: Wondering why no solar?

Postby tupelodent » Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:02 pm

It is perfect until two Cat 5 hurricanes come along. First thing to go are the solar panels and I'm not 100% sure they are covered by home owners insurance. For us , it's on the list of things to do long term because we plan on moving there in 5ish years but that list is very long. When you own property on ST John there is a hole that is only filled by money and it is VERY DEEP!
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Re: Wondering why no solar?

Postby EastEnder » Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:46 pm

Lost about a dozen panels in Irmaria when an uprooted tree flew into them. Got new ones up and running and have been 100% solar, especially for all those months of no WAPA service. It’s not cheap, but the alternative seems far worse.
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Re: Wondering why no solar?

Postby longingstjohn » Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:49 am

We own Villa Tesori. Have just under 20kw of panels. 72 panels. Our location made us lucky in terms of storm damage. Lost 2 panels. No batteries, but the net metering is helpful. our monthly electric bills went from 1200-5000 to zero to 1200 per month. Ours is a ground mount system below the house which we feel limited the damage. Many of our friends with systems on roofs lost most if not all panels.

As for the batteries for our system. Quotes are roughly 40k. Not worthwhile right now. We might add a small number to have regulated power in case of long term power loss, but we also have a large generator.

Owning any property in St John is expensive. Find out concrete costs for a jaw dropper!
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