4101 Estate Mars Hill
Frederiksted, VI, 00840
Telephone 340.713.8436 Fax 340.772.0063
St. Thomas Office
4605 Tutu Mall, Suite 231l
ELECTRICAL PERMITS FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY SYSTEMS
Acting Commissioner Jean-Pierre L. Oriol of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) announces to the public that the Department has resumed accepting electrical permits for renewable energy systems, including those for net metering systems. DPNR also reminds the public that pursuant to 29 VIC § 294, electrical permits issued by DPNR expire and become null and void if the electrical work is not commenced 120 days from the date of issuance, or if the work is suspended after it had commenced for a period of 360 days.
Based on DPNR’s records, a number of electrical permits for net metering systems have expired without being installed. Residents holding or seeking electrical permits for their renewable energy systems participation in the Territory’s net metering program are reminded that pursuant to Act No. 7075, “A utility shall offer net metering…on a first-come, first serve basis until customer-generators within each island have reached the aggregate capacity for that island.” Therefore, it is the responsibility of the permit recipient to expeditiously install their system, request a final electrical certificate from DPNR and enter into a net metering agreement with the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (VIWAPA). Permits which have expired must be reapplied for with a new date of entry, unless an extension of time is granted in writing by the Commissioner.
Residents seeking electrical permits for battery-based renewable energy systems not interconnected to the utility grid may submit electrical permit applications to DPNR to install and receive a final electrical certificate to operate such systems. However, if DPNR, upon review of design, deems that the battery-based system can be potentially interconnected to the utility grid, the applicant will be required to present an approved interconnection agreement from the VIWAPA prior to receiving a final electrical certificate from DPNR in order to legally operate such systems.
DPNR also advises the public that rules and regulations for small wind energy systems are nearing completion and will be released for public comment in the near future.
For more information, please contact Mr. Bevan Smith Jr., Director of Building Permits at 340-773-1082 extension 2298.
Answers to Net metering FAQs
The Department of Planning and Natural Resources stopped accepting applications for net metering permits in the spring of 2014 because the program was filled.
The Net metering program started in the Virgin Islands in 2007. The Energy Office, WAPA and the Public Services Commission agreed to cap the program at 10 megawatts on St. Thomas and 5 megawatts on St. Croix.
The caps were arrived at as a percentage of peak power uses on the different islands. St. Thomas uses more power.
The caps are necessary because of the intermittency of renewable energy power. Wind power is not produced when there is no wind. Solar power is not produced at night or on cloudy days.
The utility-size renewable projects are not calculated into the caps.
The caps do not mean that residents cannot have renewable energy installations at their homes or business. The caps only mean that those projects cannot be tied into the grid and use WAPA as a battery.
The Energy Office, WAPA and others have discussed possible ways to raise the cap for certain category of customers, but nothing has been decided as yet.When the caps were set in 2007; WAPA had a significant higher peak power use.
Since power use has dropped, the caps represent a larger percentage of WAPA peak power than was originally intended.