Around thirty of the islands homes, built under the Housing Finance Authority’s affordable home ownership program, now have solar hot water heaters.
The first five were installed in 2010 at the HFA’s Estate Solitude community on St. Croix. The latest 24 heaters, went on line in December, at the Calabash Boom affordable housing community on St. John. “It makes the electric bill more affordable,” V.I. Energy Office spokesman Don Buchanan said.
The solar hot water heaters were installed using money from American Recovery and Reinvestment Solar Thermal in Moderate Housing Communities program.
Energy Office Director Karl Knight, said the program illustrates the wide variety of methods the Energy Office used Stimulus Funds, to get energy solutions to the residents of the Virgin Islands. According to Buchanan, the HFA and the Energy Office hope to have solar hot water heaters installed on another 100 homes before the April 30 deadline for spending the Stimulus Funds money.
John Green, HFA director of planning and construction, said the HFA hopes to use more funds from the program for HFA affordable housing projects proposed on St. Thomas and St. Croix, but there is also the option on using the funds to put solar water heaters on independent, single-family homes being built under the affordable housing guidelines. The goal of the program is to install solar water heaters to reduce electrical demand and associated cost, reduce greenhouse gas emission and create jobs.