The Caribbean Green Technology Center and BMR Energy’s Spanish Town Facility held a tour of their solar plant facility Tuesday evening on St. Croix. The solar power plant has over 16,000 solar panels, 9 inverters, and holds up to 4 megawatts of A/C power that they provide to the Water and Power Authority.
“Once the power turns into A/C power it goes through transformers and converts to 24,000 volts,” said David Perri the Director of Engineering for BMR Energy. The inverters combine at 480 volts, and that voltage goes up to 25,000 volts, travels through underground lines and into the Water and Power Authority substation located near the Melvin Evans Highway.
The Spanish Town solar farm has been in operation since 2015 and received much damage after the 2017 Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The plant remained offline after nearly five months while grid repairs were being completed. At that time production was limited to less than 45 percent of its energy capacity.
BMR Energy took over the plant from NRG Energy in 2018 and efforts to restore and enhance the facility took place.
Perri said that the benefits of the solar panels include, “Less expensive than fossil fuel, it’s cleaner, takes reliance out of natural gas.”
“There are two types of solar panels. We have 1,000 volt solar panels and we have 600 volt solar panels,” said Perri.
“Solar technology has been changing very drastically over the last 10 years. This vintage maybe 300 watt panels were the norm, we are putting in 450 and 500 watt panels. The technology has gotten better and the efficiency has gotten better and they have actually gotten less expensive.”
The facility is maintained by local residents and several locally-based contracting partners in order to maintain the facility. Also apart of the land maintenance crew includes goats who maintain the grass low alongside of a sheep dog that watches over them.