The Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) has begun repairs to its photovoltaic system at the Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas. The system will help VIPA to reduce its electricity bill at airport by at least 15 percent every month. VIPA’s electric bill for the airport terminal last fiscal year (Sept. 2018 – Sept. 2019) was approximately $3.7 million.
The photovoltaic system is comprised of a solar panel array, inverter and other electrical hardware. The system at Cyril E. King was damaged during two Category 5 hurricanes in 2017. VIPA has used insurance funds to hire Prosolar Systems LLC to repair it. The project costs $361,770 and should be completed by December 2019.
The photovoltaic system was built in 2011 via a $2.9 million grant provided by the U.S. Department of Energy. At the time it was constructed, it was the largest solar power system in the Virgin Islands. The 1,500-feet long and 14-feet wide system consists of 1,800 PV panels designed to produce 600 kilowatt-hours of renewable energy. The system feeds excess power back into the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority’s (WAPA) energy grid. VIPA will receive a credit from WAPA for electricity produced by the system.