SOLAR FUTURE: Governor Kenneth Mapp (left) with former President Bill Clinton (middle) and Lt. Governor Osbert Potter
CHARLOTTE AMALIE – Governor Kenneth Mapp, joined by President Bill Clinton, Bloomberg co-founder Tom Secunda and officials from Expedia Group said on Friday that three sites in the U.S. Virgin Islands will get solar power and support for renewable energy projects territory-wide.
“Today, I am here to tell you that the Mapp-Potter Administration is committed to working with the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) and the Public Services Commission to adopt new regulations allowing residents and building owners to install renewable energy sources and remain connected to the grid for redundancy,” said Governor Mapp. “Ultimately, we want resilient and cost effective power producing sources in our community.”
President Bill Clinton thanked the Governor for his leadership and said that the planned solarization projects were the result of strong partnerships.
“Diverse groups make better decisions. It has been an honor for the Clinton Global Initiatives Network to work with you.” President Clinton said. “This is a very important day for the Virgin Islands. I hope this initiative is mirrored throughout the Caribbean.”
The Family Resource Center on St. Thomas, and the Gifft Hill School and St. John Christian Academy on St. John were the three sites selected to receive solar systems.
The Mapp-Potter Administration remains committed to developing clean and less expensive renewable energy sources as the U.S. Virgin Islands currently has the highest electricity rates in the United States.
“The well being of our families and the strength and realistic growth of our economy are dependent on a serious reduction of the cost of power in the Territory,” said Governor Mapp. “Renewable energy produced by residents and businesses and purchased by WAPA and renewable energy produced by WAPA and distributed through the electric grid is a win-win for all.”
The Governor says that he plans to expand the generation of power with renewable energy sources in the Territory on government buildings and land, on homes and on businesses. The U.S. Virgin Islands could become a pioneer of sustainability and economic prosperity in this region.
Governor Mapp also commended the work of the Family Resource Center, where today’s announcement was made. He said the Family Resource Center has positively impacted the Territory since 1987, helping victims of domestic violence and victims of violent crime through its counseling program, shelters and other support services. He recognized Donna James Gaskin and her anti-domestic violence statutes spurred by Mary Mingus in 1984, funding the Family Resource Center on St. Thomas and the Woman’s Coalition on St. Croix.
President Clinton said he was grateful for the work of the Family Resource Center.
“I am also grateful to the people of the Virgin Islands for the way you responded,” Clinton said. “It’s amazing what you can do if you see these disasters as an opportunity to recommit yourself to save the place you love and make it better.”
The solar panels, batteries, and installation provided are being funded by Expedia Group as a commitment of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery, in partnership with Tom Secunda and Bloomberg Philanthropies, Construction for Change, and the Sextant Foundation.
“On behalf of the people of the Virgin Islands, I would like to thank Expedia Group for this important donation and, of course, President Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiatives Network and Tom Secunda and Bloomberg Philanthropies for their unwavering commitment to the Territory and the region,” said Governor Mapp. “Solarization projects such as these make our community more resilient and I will do all I can to continue to support efforts to bring sustainable, affordable and clean energy to our communities. Today’s announcements represent a larger goal and vision to build a stronger and smarter Virgin Islands. I look forward to these projects being completed and working with the team to identify a site on St. Croix.”