Continuing a successful campaign in 2019 to lower solar energy costs on St. John and help the island paradise become carbon-free, a new round of rebate opportunities are available beginning today for local residents/property owners on the island through Solarize St. John.
Local residents are eligible to sign up for a free solar evaluation and potentially receive up to a $2,750 rebate toward a solar energy system for their property. Ten St. John property owners will be eligible for solar power and battery storage discounts through this 2.0 version of the campaign.
This opportunity is on a first-come, first-served basis. Rebates are awarded when the contract is signed and then funded upon completed installation.
Solarize St. John 2019 in Review (by the numbers)
The future of solar power and battery storage is bright on St. John. More than 100 St. John residents signed up for a free solar evaluation, and 22 residents are already installing solar energy and/or battery storage systems through the program. This translates into over $600,000 in new clean energy development, big savings on electricity bills, and meaningful reductions in CO2 emissions for decades to come.
Solar energy: 121.17 kW producing over 200,000kWh of clean energy annually.
Battery storage: 293.8 kWh adding resiliency when the power goes down.
CO2 avoided: 261,500 pounds annually equal to over 3,877 trees cleaning the air.
Solarize St. John, in conjunction with Island Green Living Association, awarded 20 residential grants totaling $58,530 so far. These grants, in turn, have sparked $438,000 in new solar energy and battery storage development — an 8:1 ratio.
Offering Solar/Battery Discounts to Increase Renewable Energy on St. John
Like during 2019, this year’s campaign remains “local only” – all installation companies involved are based on St. John.
Last year, local organizers of Solarize St. John, joining forces with SolarCrowdSource, launched the first-of-its-kind program on the island using a hybrid of a traditional Solarize program (bulk, cooperative purchasing among many property owners rather than individual purchasing) and discounts created by a generous donation to seed the initiative.
Rebates from a 2020 donation again enable local installer firms on the island to significantly discount their customized installations. The Solarize St. John team closely coordinates with these local solar companies to lower the expense of solar and battery power by filling residential orders that would not have occurred otherwise at a higher cost.
The impact in 2019 was measurable. More than 100 local property owners signed up for a free solar evaluation after hearing about Solarize St. John throughout the year. Via the 2019 program, more than 400 solar panels and 21 battery systems were installed on homes of 22 residents stretching from Great Cruz Bay to the far East End on St. John. This resulted in an annual reduction in carbon emissions into the environment equivalent to 87 pickup trucks every year.
The effort translated into over $600,000 in new clean energy development — and ultimately big savings on electricity bills, improved energy resiliency locally and meaningful reductions in CO2 emissions for decades to come.
“Like last year, I want to continue to see the use of solar power expand on St. John,” said lead Solarize St. John donor Brad Camrud, a part-time St. John resident and long-time user and supporter of solar energy on the island.
“It was gratifying that so many responded positively to last year’s campaign and received support for their carbon-reducing systems,” Camrud said. “This year, we’re once again aiming to cover the island with the opportunity to add solar.”
A federal tax credit of 26 percent that decreases to 22 percent at the end of 2020 complements this year’s Solarize rebate incentive. In addition, resumption of WAPA’s net billing policy, which provides renewable energy bill credits, will appeal to those who have considered solar power previously but didn’t want to fully exit the power grid.
In addition to marketing the program and facilitating installer and residential contracts, Solarize St. John works with the local non-profit Island Green Living Association, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, to administer rebates to those who sign solar energy contracts.