Dec. 5, 2003 Thanks to extensive effort by the Rotary Club of St. John, the V.I. Environmental Resource Station has a solar system that powers two dormitories and a classroom. When they are not occupied, a switch shifts the solar-power system to run electricity in the manager's office.
"It's a wonderful community project," said Clean Islands International Director Randy Brown.
Clean Islands, a nonprofit organization, operates VIERS for the University of the Virgin Islands, which owns the complex.
The Rotarians, VIERS staff and a few guests celebrated the completion of the project with a luncheon Friday.
While the system helps cut VIERS' electric bill, it also provides an opportunity for students and scientists using VIERS to learn about conservation and solar energy. The system, which sits under a roof, sports several posters detailing its features and how it works.
Chris Angel, a Rotarian who owns Angel Electric, called on one of his crew, Tom Knowlton, to do the bulk of the installation. Other Rotarians with skills like plumbing, carpentry, excavation and others assisted at various points in the project.
It took two years of Saturday-morning work by the Rotary Club members to bring the project to completion.
The solar system was the brainchild of Rotarian Doug White. The Rotary Club of St. John funded the first $3,500 of the project. Rotary's Eastern Caribbean district added another $1,500, and Rotary Clubs in Clearwater, Fla., chipped in another $5,000.
Rotary International's Foundation provided $10,000, and the V.I. Energy Office gave a $10,000 rebate on the solar equipment.
Brown also found old pieces of aluminum in the bushes at VIERS to use as supports for the system. The aluminum was left over from when VIERS was built in the late 1960s as the base for the Tektite undersea project at Lameshur Bay.
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