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VI Gov’t announces solar project to reduce electricity cost by 50%

-Solar Technology Energy Programme (STEP) to add to VI's sustainable agenda
April 18th, 2024 | Tags: BVIEC electricity Energy solar power Kye M. Rymer
The BVIEC through the Ministry has announced the Solar technology Energy Programme (STEP) a programme aimed at reducing the cost of electricity in the VI and assisting the people of the VI. Photo: GIS/Facebook
He said in simplified terms, the BVIEC will purchase the equipment and cover the installation cost to significantly decrease the cost of electricity as it relates to the cost of imported fuel. Photo: Internet Source/File
He said in simplified terms, the BVIEC will purchase the equipment and cover the installation cost to significantly decrease the cost of electricity as it relates to the cost of imported fuel. Photo: Internet Source/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - The BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC), through the Ministry of Communications and Works, has announced the Solar Technology Energy Programme (STEP), a project aimed at reducing the cost of electricity in the VI and assisting the people of the VI.

The announcement was made today, April 18, 2024, by Minister for Communications and Works Hon Kye M. Rymer (R5) at a press conference today, April 18, 2024.

Hon Rymer says this venture comes as the government has become aware of the high cost of living in the VI.

“Today I am pleased to introduce one of those initiatives developed in support of that mandate, the Solar Technology Energy Program or STEP, which is meant to reduce the electricity bills of participant residential customers by as much as 50%.”

He said the system is expected to realise a positive impact in the near future with significant savings to come.

“This initiative will involve the installation of grid-tie systems that will allow electricity to be produced for customers from the sun, and in some cases, may result in financial credit being given to participating customers of the BVIEC."

BVIEC to purchase equipment 

Hon Rymer said, in simplified terms, the BVIEC will purchase the equipment and cover the installation cost to significantly decrease the cost of electricity as it relates to the cost of imported fuel and have it installed for the customer. 

He said the savings would be directed to recovering the setup cost, and when the setup cost is paid off, the savings would then be directed to the customer and would be seen in a lower bill total and or credits.

“By the end of the day today, BVIEC will post a survey on its website so that interested customers can register their interest in the programme, with the corporation taking the necessary steps to have the associated systems installed in the coming months."

Hon Rymer added that he is encouraging everyone on the VI to register for STEPS, which will also add to the VI’s sustainable agenda. He said the cost will be managed through BVIEC as a duty-free importer to keep the equipment importation cost at the lowest possible for the VI.

More details to follow.

39 Responses to “VI Gov’t announces solar project to reduce electricity cost by 50%”

  • asura (18/04/2024, 17:57) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    The vip wake up bossie
    • Rhythm up. (18/04/2024, 18:44) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
      We just need words with meaning..Words and promises fulfilled ..Fed up of Lorna. "The promise only lady".Don't know what about her would make her good friend and bias defender Cindy says she would be a good Premier. 'Nonsense'..I use to love Lorna but when people can't keep their words or playing tricks that's a turn off.
    • @ asura (19/04/2024, 04:20) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      So what is the alternative?
  • ndp (18/04/2024, 18:39) Like (6) Dislike (15) Reply
    BVI is hurricane zone Solar Power could be questionable
    • resident (18/04/2024, 23:30) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
      the panels can be removed and stored away when a storm is coming and reinstalled after the storm has left
      • @ resident (19/04/2024, 10:18) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        so that is a stable source of power for the people and when will all of these upgrades being…..don’t hold your breath
    • Haha @ndp (19/04/2024, 05:15) Like (5) Dislike (2) Reply
      I might as well jump on the bandwagon.

      BVI is hurricane zone. Weddings could be questionable.

  • WOW (18/04/2024, 19:10) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Pure nonsense!!!!!!
  • BuzzBvi (18/04/2024, 19:10) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    ndp. Anyone not sure about that should check out what happened to the Solar Fields in St Thomas. Completly destroyed!
    • question (19/04/2024, 08:22) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      How long after Irma it took for electricity. I on the band wagon too. Bvi a hurricane zone the power station could be questionable.
      • red man (19/04/2024, 11:18) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        Tell us a little more about what you mean when you say the POWER STATION could be questionable ? ????
    • lodger (19/04/2024, 10:44) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      How did the solar plant on Necker Island fare in the hurricanes?
  • cut and paste (18/04/2024, 19:53) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
  • Capt Ron (18/04/2024, 20:03) Like (16) Dislike (1) Reply
    Where’s Ray Lewis and all the money the govt gave him and his crooked biz partner?
  • voter (18/04/2024, 20:10) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is a good initiative. BVIEC is financing additional power to the grid on customers electricity bills and passing that savings on once the system is paid off. The devil is in the details. What is the finance charge? total cost of installation? and savings on electricity bill once installed? These will determine the pay back time and useful life left in the installed system once it has been paid out when the benefits will accrue to the consumer. I suspect the time to payoff will be long but systems except batteries generally should last 20 to 25 years. Batteries will not be needed for the BVIEC purposes but would be a useful addition for customers to provide critical backup. The other aspect is insurance against storm damage. How will that work out and what will be the cost of insurance. The details of how this will work will be interesting. I much suspect BVIEC will benefit in the short to medium term but the benefit to homeowners may be well delayed and marginal.
    • It's simple (19/04/2024, 13:57) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      BVIEC will pay for the equipment and installation, on a LOAN to the homeowner. Then they mount the panels and install a meter on the power produced which is not going to the household, but out to the grid. BVIEC will then "pay" the household 15% of the normal cost of electricity, and use all of that towards the loan for the equipment and installation, only once all that has been paid off will the homeowner recieve anything. Unless of course the panels blow away in a which case you will still owe BVIEC for the loan. Better make sure your home insurance covers the panels!
    • No batteries (19/04/2024, 14:02) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      BVIEC will not permit the solar to charge batteries for you to use at night. Every drop of the power has to go thru the outgoing BVIEC meter to the grid. Of course, you CAN buy the BVIEC power at normal cost to charge your batteries as a backup, trust me, BVIEC has made certain that this program benefits primarily BVIEC. Essentially, they are asking to use people's roofs to produce the power they then sell back to you. As I see it, the only significant benefit is in diesel savings for the generators at Pockwood.
      • voter (20/04/2024, 20:07) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Exactly. This program will be front loaded and weighted to BVIEC’s benefit. They can use my roof and pay me rent and I’ll pay my light bill as usual. I’ll use my rent income to offset my bill. They will never bite on that as they want me to finance the project through paying my electricity bill and then transfer the residual value of the system when it’s almost end of life to me as my compensation. Always a catch.
  • See (18/04/2024, 20:18) Like (19) Dislike (1) Reply
    Millions will be spent and not one watt of electricity will see the light of day . Watch who gets rich
    • watcher (20/04/2024, 20:12) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      I can bet the big man who use to work there will get a good eat. He has and the Agricultural Consiuktant from East End probably planning a good eat. World is a circle
  • Native senior citizen of the British Virgin Islands s (18/04/2024, 20:49) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    This sound good coming out if a politician mouth, but we need to know more in detail on this said promised Topic Issue, Hon. kye Rhymer.
    In my opinion this promise may not be fulfilled any time soon. Why not? Base on the sewage system ongoing incompletion, what make anyone feel or that this will come to be, and at what cost, and to who? In addition, had we not been promised by successive governments that the sewage system would have been completed many years past?
    Which country in this world that has a system in place that all its people are connected to the said system promised us.
    Tell us more about this new BVI Electricity Plan.
    We need more information.

    In the main time finish the sewage problem in the BVI first. It is ongoing for more that twenty years

  • question (18/04/2024, 21:15) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    Have they even started the project in Anegada yet?
    • YES! (19/04/2024, 14:03) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      They certainly have, the gov paid out the 50% up front to the bidder, Power52, who immediately disappeared. Surprise Surprise!
  • Native Tongue (18/04/2024, 21:58) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    This should have been done fifty years ago in 1974.
  • Hm.. (18/04/2024, 22:06) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    The dunce running from pot holes....
  • @ ndp (18/04/2024, 22:18) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Exactly...don't forget the greenhouses.
  • Give me permission (18/04/2024, 23:03) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    To bring in my own stuff
  • sounds good (19/04/2024, 00:05) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    To me
  • my2cents (19/04/2024, 03:13) Like (0) Dislike (5) Reply
    The people are coming back home to the vip do not mind crazy Cindy with her one man gang
  • Friends and family (19/04/2024, 05:55) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Given free solar
  • Ryan (19/04/2024, 11:54) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    It sounds like a great initiative, but this is just political talk to get more votes. It is completely BS, and does not help the people in the BVI who are actually struggling with the higher prices of living and electricity. Basically, this reads to me that if you already have money and can afford to pay for all the upfront installation and additional equipment costs, then you can save more of the money you already have. Why wouldn’t they rather spend this government/BVIEC money on UPGRADING the electrical network in the BVI so that it can withstand bi-directional power flow? This would allow participants to then feed this energy back into the electrical grid during times of peak generation and low consumption, allowing to effectively mask the load consumption and reduce our reliance on the diesel generators to produce all of the power for the BVI. Also, participants of STEP can then get money back from the BVIEC when generating excess power! This helps incentivize solar more! It also would help those in the community who cannot afford/have the space or appropriate location to install solar as less reliance on diesel generators to meet our load demand effectively means less spent on diesel, which in turn should correspond to lower electrical rates! (that is if someone else isn’t just going to pocket this extra for their own benefit as many with power in the BVI do). Why not invest in solar storage solutions on a grid scale to allow for the extra energy generated by solar to actually be stored for use during non-solar hours? There’s just so much more that could be done better here, and at least to me looks like one of those decisions that looks GREAT on paper or on a powerpoint in front of a board meeting of ALREADY WEALTHY people, but it does not actually help THE PEOPLE OF THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS who need that help most! I’m sure whoever approved this going forward will be benefiting far more from this incentive than any of the people in the BVI who actually need this help. Shameful really, our leaders should do better!
  • skuntington (19/04/2024, 13:24) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    more trickle down economics, why not a programme so local home owners can get a rebate if they install solar / battery system to reduce the strain on the infrastructure
  • Big Richard (19/04/2024, 13:50) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Check back in 50 years for an update.
  • One word (19/04/2024, 13:57) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
  • hello (19/04/2024, 19:35) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    What ever happen to Anegada solar power contract that was awarded? VINO you need to do some investigative journalism fir the people!
  • Wait (19/04/2024, 20:09) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    So ayuh going give the jobs to all the white boys or the guys that did the course going get some experience?
    Lord knows that Wallace man scam the VI out of millions. How is the Anegada project?
    Any update on Coxheath?
    We watching atuh eh nuh.
  • Really (20/04/2024, 11:11) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I get censored alot so I will keep it short because my comments don't make it 99.99% of the time. This is how they will control how much current you use. It called control. It's not just here but numerous places started this

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