The Virgin Islands Energy Office is changing its application process for the Net Energy Billing program that allows residents producing energy from the sun or wind to sell their excess energy to the V.I. Water and Power Authority, it announced in a press release on Wednesday.
Starting immediately, Net Energy Billing applications will require a Certifying Letter and Installation Checklist from the licensed electrician associated with the project, V.I. Energy Office Director Kyle Fleming said in the press release.
“The use of the Certifying Letter and Installation Checklist will function similarly to the ‘Electrical Certifications for Power Connections’ that was implemented following the 2017 storms to ensure timely reconnection of weather heads throughout the community,” Fleming said.
Previously, Net Energy Billing applications required a DPNR electrical plan review, electrical inspection, and final electrical inspection, said Fleming. Those requirements are now waived, and as a result, “participation is REQUIRED from all non-registered grid interconnected solar and solar-plus-storage installations throughout the territory. Strict enforcement protocols will be implemented for intentional non-compliance,” he said, with all-caps emphasis on “required.”
Fleming noted in the press release that the change comes also because “it is clear that a significant amount of installations by installers/electricians who are not certified within the VIEO program have continued to persist throughout the territory,” so the office, WAPA and the Department of Planning and Natural Resources collaborated to creatively address the issue.
The Certifying Letter and Installation Checklist must be signed and stamped by the licensed electrician associated with the project and uploaded to the project within the Net Energy Billing Portal, or submitted within the Virgin Islands Energy Office, according to the press release. The template for the Certifying Letter and Checklist will be provided by the office and made available for pickup or for download at the office’s website.
Fleming reminded unregistered distributed energy stakeholders “that the Net Energy Billing program is NOT a voluntary program. We expect all currently installed, non-net meter, and future grid-connected distributed energy installations, to be registered within the program. The VIEO is in the process of scheduling in-office walkthroughs of the online permitting portal, and we invite installers, electricians, and property owners to call 340-713-8436 to schedule an appointment on St. Croix and St. Thomas,” he said.