VIEO, WAPA, DPNR Create Net Energy Billing, Electrician-Certified Solar Installations

Virgin Islands Energy Office Solar Storage (submitted photo)

The Virgin Islands Energy Office, in partnership with Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority and Department of Planning and Natural Resources, has worked diligently in alignment with the Bryan/Roach Administration’s vision to create a sustainable renewable energy industry within the territory. Thus far, community engagement with the Net Energy Billing program has been promising. Applications continue to be submitted and have navigated through the various stages of the permitting workflow. VIEO continues to strive to ensure that the permit process is streamlined and efficient for all who have or will submit applications.

To that end, VIEO has identified that many applications have not been able to navigate the permitting process to completion despite multiple months of processing. Additionally, it is clear that a significant number of installations by installers/ electricians who are not certified within the VIEO program have continued to persist throughout the territory.

In recognizing these challenges, the WAPA, VIEO and DPNR team has collaborated to creatively address the issue. Beginning immediately, Net Energy Billing applications will require a certifying letter and installation checklist from the licensed electrician associated with the project. Relative to the permitting workflow, the submission of the certifying letter and installation checklist will replace the following steps: the DPNR Electrical Plan Review, the DPNR Electrical Inspection, and the DPNR Final Electrical Inspection.

The goal of accepting the letter and the checklist is to expedite the DPNR approval process and ensure that applications will efficiently navigate the permit process to completion. The letter and checklist must be signed and stamped by the licensed electrician associated with the project and uploaded to the project within the Net Energy Billing Portal or submitted within the Virgin Islands Energy Office (VIEO).

The template for the certifying letter and checklist will be provided by the VIEO and made available for in-office and/or download on the VIEO website:

The use of the letter and checklist will function similarly to the “Electrical Certifications for Power Connections” that was implemented following the 2017 storms to ensure timely reconnection of weather heads throughout the community. The waiver of the DPNR Electrical Plan Review, the DPNR Electrical Inspection and the DPNR Final Electrical Inspection is a special consideration that has been granted to the Virgin Islands community.

As a result, participation is required from all non-registered grid-interconnected solar and solar plus storage installations throughout the territory. Strict enforcement protocols will be implemented for intentional non-compliance.

This communication serves to remind unregistered distributed energy stakeholders that the Net Energy Billing program is not a voluntary program. The V.I. Energy Office expects all currently installed, non-net meter, and future grid-connected distributed energy installations to be registered within the program.

The VIEO is in the process of scheduling in-office walk-throughs of the online permitting portal, and it invites installers, electricians and property owners to call 713-8436 to schedule an appointment on St. Croix or St. Thomas.