Solar Powers U.S. Island Territories

Mon, 2011-10-24 09:10

In an earlier blog post, Everblue employee Jamie Zelenak-Hyre recounts her experience in Hawaii, marveling at the abundance of solar power on the island. It seems this trend also extends to U.S. island territories, such as the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam. These locations are starting to utilize solar panels in an effort to cut down on their electricity expenses.

Beautiful and sunny, tropical islands rely heavily on burning imported oil products to generate their power. This expense, ranging around 40 cents a kilowatt-hour, is approximately four times as expensive as the national average of 9.7 cents. The alarming cost of electricity on the islands has caused officials to adopt solar as an effective form of relief and clean electricity production.

SolarWorld, the largest U.S. solar panel producer, has become the dominant solar panel company among the islands. They installed a 1,600-foot-long array of ground-mounted solar panels alongside a runway at Cyril E. King Airport in the Virgin Islands and will supply 350 kilowatts of solar panels in the American Samoa. These solar panels will be installed on 10 schools and seven government buildings.

Utilizing funds from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, U.S. island territories are putting in place as many solar projects as they can afford. Guam residents are enjoying a 24.84-kilowatt installation on a library at Guam Community College and will soon see a 29.4-kilowatt system on a college health education building in May.

We are likely to see even more solar installations in these tropical locations. Not only is SolarWorld helping the islands to tap into their own plentiful energy resource, but they are also helping to provide hands-on training to students who want experience installing solar. Students from the University of the Virgin Islands worked with SolarWorld partner installer OneWorld Sustainability of Lexington, Ga. to install 1,806 panels at the Cyril E. King Airport. Lowering electricity costs and training individuals to compete in the green economy is certainly a win-win situation.

For more information about solar energy applications, please visit Everblue’s Solar PV Installation page.