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WAPA Announces Shortlist of Responders to Solar Energy RFP

(Thursday, November 17, 2011)

The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority

Corporate Communications


Contact:  Cassandra Dunn, Director of Corporate Communications

340-773-2250 extension 4085 or 340-690-5758

The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority is on schedule with its announcement today of a shortlist of six successful respondents to its “Request for Proposal (RFP) from Independent Power Producers for Solar Photovoltaic Generation.” A total of 27 companies submitted bids by the September 27th deadline. The Authority is seeking solar energy to assist in lowering the cost of power production in the territory, and in diversifying its generation portfolio by adding renewables to the grid. The utility will sign a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for the procurement of 10 megawatts (MW) of solar energy from one or more of the bidders, with an option to renew for another five years.

WAPA’s Executive Director (CEO)  Hugo Hodge, Jr. said  the proposals were carefully evaluated against weighted criteria which included pricing (25%), experience (25%), strength of development and construction plan (20%), strength of operations and maintenance plan (5%), financial strength of the respondent and other project participants (15%), and other factors (10%).  Originally, the short list was scheduled for release on October 25th but was changed to November 18th so the utility’s team of experts could fully assess each of the bids submitted. Hodge said the utility was encouraged by the large number of responses.

            Gregory Rhymer, WAPA’s Chief Operating Officer, chaired the evaluation committee which consisted of members of WAPA’s engineering, legal, finance and technical staffs, and experts from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Legal analysis and validation of the non-technical factors of each proposal were assigned to attorneys of the global law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.  Meetings and initial interviews with the companies are scheduled for mid-December and negotiations will begin immediately after, Rhymer said.

Three of the companies on the shortlist submitted bids in partnership with locally based companies. The Authority will negotiate with the following bidders:

AES Solar                                                            Arlington, VA

BeSmart Energy Capital                                White Plains, NY

Lanco Solar International                             Inselin, NJ

Sun Edison                                                         Costa Mesa, CA

SunPower Corporation                                 Chapel Hill, NC

Toshiba International Corporation            Dresher, PA   

In order to get the best pricing for its customers, the Authority will not reveal any prices and other information considered confidential or proprietary by the bidders while negotiations are in progress.  However, at the conclusion of the negotiations and upon approval by the Authority’s Governing Board, prices will be publicly announced.  Public meetings will be held for residents to review the selection process, Hodge said.

A guaranteed commercial operation date has been set for December 2013.