ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands–(BUSINESS WIRE)–BMR Energy, a Virgin Group company and developer, owner, and operator of clean energy projects in the Caribbean and Latin America, announced today that it is starting construction of the 6.4-megawatt (MWp) Donoe Solar farm in St. Thomas. The facility is expected to be completed and enter service in the fourth quarter of this year and will sell the power it generates to the Virgin Island Power and Water Authority (VIWAPA) under a newly negotiated 25-year Power Purchase Agreement.
The facility will be constructed on the site of a former solar facility that experienced significant damage during the devastating 2017 hurricane season. BMR agreed to acquire the site of the original solar farm in 2019 and closed on that purchase in the summer of 2020. The new facility incorporates several design and construction features to increase the strength and resilience of the equipment to withstand future windstorms.
The Solar farm will include more than 14,000 photovoltaic modules and has been designed with strengthened racking, foundations and module connection systems to withstand wind speeds up to 180 mph.
“After Hurricane Irma destroyed the plant nearly four years ago, our team was eager to fully understand the failures of the prior design and installation and build it back stronger,” said Bruce Levy, CEO of BMR Energy. “We’ve considered design recommendations from experts throughout the industry and conducted wind tunnel tests on all systems and equipment. With this resilient design, the facility will be able to deliver reliable, clean energy to the local community for decades to come.”
“WAPA welcomes the opportunity to enter another partnership with BMR Energy as we endeavor to diversify our generation mix. While this agreement increases the volume of solar energy we capture for electrical generation, this and other renewable projects set WAPA on a path to lower operating costs and reduced reliance on fossil fuel. These reductions will ultimately translate to savings for our customers,” said Interim Executive Director / CEO Noel Hodge.
This will be the second project BMR Energy will operate to provide electricity for the utility.
About BMR Energy
BMR Energy, a Virgin Group investment, is a developer, owner, and operator of clean energy projects in the Caribbean and Latin America. BMR Energy’s solution-minded team brings its industry expertise to efficiently executing projects that deliver affordable, sustainable energy generation. For more information, visit www.bmrenergy.com.
About Virgin Group
Virgin is a leading international investment group and one of the world’s most recognized and respected brands. Conceived in 1970 by Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin Group has gone on to grow successful businesses in sectors including media & mobile, travel & leisure, financial services, music & entertainment, health & wellness, space, and renewable energy.
The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority is an autonomous agency of the Virgin Islands Government which produces and distributes electricity and drinking water to residential and commercial customers in the territory. WAPA was created by the Fifth Legislature of the Virgin Islands in 1964 through Act No. 1248. Today, WAPA produces electrical power at plants on St. Thomas and St. Croix and distributes electrical service through smart grids to customers on St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John, Hassel Island, and Water Island.