Solar Electric System – Finally online

Eco-Innovations (see update at bottom of post) installed 13 panels in December.  They wired us up in early January.   In early February, DPNR came out to do their inspection.  DPNR finally signed off on our system in early May.  Paperwork immediately handed to WAPA.  WAPA engineers finally came out to inspect this week.  Yesterday they changed out my meter so I can send the energy I produce back into the grid.  After nearly eight months I finally flipped on my panels for the first time this morning.

You can see my system here:

Solar Panels installed 12/15/2011



I found this net metering flow chart on the WAPA website. It gives you an idea of the complexity of the permitting process.

Update 2014:
When choosing a solar provider here in the USVI do keep in mind that the company mentioned above disappears after the install and is unreachable should you have any issues.

We Are In The House

As always, this post arrives a bit late.  We moved in 4 weeks ago.  It was probably a mistake as it has been a bit stressful trying to do “work work” while people around me are doing “house work”.  But each day we are getting closer to having all the essentials completed.  All the interior doors are up and the trim should be completed in the next few days.  We had to build all our door frames because of all the crazy sizes.  All counter-tops, vanities, and sinks are in except for the powder room.  We are still waiting on some things from the Marble Shop out of San Juan that really should have shipped 2 months ago.  It has been extremely difficult to work with them and I won’t recommend them to anyone. The AC units are finally all in. Not all functional yet, but all installed.  They started installation in December and proceeded to come work on them in one hour increments since.  I don’t get it.   Main kitchen cabinets, same thing.  They started before Thanksgiving and we still have a few drawers that don’t function as they should.  The company seems to send a different worker each time they come out.

After finishing our pool we found we had a leak.  The concrete work wasn’t done properly around the skimmer, so we had to remove all the tiles from that area, rework the concrete, apply a sealant, and re-tile.  My pool guy does a decent job….when he shows up.

The house is a bit of a mess at the moment.  Boxes everywhere.  Dust everywhere.  Dust dust dust.  Everywhere.  Fun stuff.

We put in for our final inspections last Tuesday.  The plumbing inspector came out that same day.  Structural and CZM (Coastal Zone Management) both came out Wednesday.  We are now just waiting on electrical inspection.  By getting our Certificate of Occupancy we can move off of the construction electric rates, turn on our solar panels, and move off of our construction loan to our 30-year loan.

The dogs and cat have settled in well.  Besides the barking at all the people in and out of the house all day, they do seem to enjoy it here.  We don’t have a front gate yet so I can’t let them out in the big yard without supervision, but they have the fenced back area for the time being.

Our first guests (my mother and her friend Deb) arrive next Wednesday.  Unfortunately it doesn’t appear that the furniture is going to arrive on time for the guest house.  Sorry Mom. 🙂

Front Door Finally Completed

Front Door Finally Completed. Some grass growing.


Our newly planted Christmas Palm Trees

Our newly planted Christmas Palm Trees (and newly planted grass)



The dogs enjoy the deck

The dogs enjoy the deck



Pelicans have been cruising by my office window non-stop the past two weeks and dive-bombing for their meals right in front of the house.



Pre-build Update

A quick update. We have spent the past year and a half working with an architect, getting permits, getting copies of drawings made, getting a mortgage, getting more copies of drawings made, hiring a contractor, and yes, getting even more copies of drawings made. This process took about a year longer than we anticipated. Whenever anybody tells you that things take longer here on St. Croix, believe them. It just does. There is never any rush, and if there is, it is only you doing the rushing.

The four month architecture drawings took eight, not including some modifications. The one month mortgage approval with Scotia Bank took six months. The permits actually were ready in a reasonable two months or so, both DPNR and CZM. Choosing a builder took a few months. Working with the chosen builder to make modifications to get our costs down took another three months. Of course much of this overlapped, but we were at a stand-still for a few months waiting on the mortgage. When we were finally ready to close, the builder wasn’t quite ready, and then we had the wettest October in history. We closed on our mortgage in early November. Nothing much happened in November except that we were now paying excessive building insurance premiums on a vacant lot.

Shortly after closing my builder told me I should look into mowing the lot. My first thought was “aren’t you just going to bulldoze everything?” I purchased a weed-eater and went to work. I worked for four hours and got about 5% of the lot trimmed. So that little project was a failure, but hey, I got a nice new piece of equipment which I will use approximately two more times.

At the beginning of December our builder started to clear the lot with real machinery. Finally, some tangible progress.  Why did I buy that weed-eater?

December 2, 2010

December 4, 2010

December 11, 2010

December 17, 2010