CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - May 12, 2014) - Veriown Energy will receive a $3 million federal grant from the USDA High Energy Cost Grant Program designed to provide financial assistance for the improvement of energy generation, transmission, and distribution facilities servicing eligible rural communities. The grant will allow Veriown the ability to deploy a microgrid application on the University of the Virgin Islands campus to enhance their current 3-megawatt solar installation.
Fifty-five applicants from around the US went after the $11 million USDA High Energy Cost Grant. Together, Veriown and Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) had the highest rated proposal and were awarded $3 million to apply to the project.
The 20-year power purchase agreement signed last July between Veriown, New Generation Power (NGP) and University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) allows the project to be taken to the next phase, which will help reduce energy costs by more than 50 percent and will be built out on both of the university campuses.
Expensive electricity costs have taken a toll on the Virgin Island (VI) economy. The average electricity consumer in the territory pays more than 50 cents per kilowatt-hour -- four times more than consumers on the US mainland.
"Because of this grant, the University of the Virgin Islands, with the tremendous assistance of Veriown Energy and Illinois Institute of Technology will be in a position to become energy independent in an environment where the cost of energy is extremely high. This partnership will catapult UVI into the category of the leading universities in smart microgrid technology," said Dr. David Hall, President of the University of the Virgin Islands.
The relationship between Veriown and Dr. Mohammad Shahidehpour, a leader in advanced energy studies and microgrid development at IIT's Robert W. Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation, blossomed five years ago after discussing the true potential of what a microgrid system could do on a campus setting.
"This grant signifies a strong synergy between the government, academia, and the energy industry for promoting the state-of-the-art research and development on sustainable energy, energy efficiency, and microgrids which can serve as a role model for advancing the United States leadership in the global energy arena," said Dr. Shahidehpour.
According to Steve Johanns, CEO of Veriown, a university is the optimal place to develop a microgrid system, not just because of its campus setting, but because it can be an institution to foster and train our youth in innovative microgrid solutions that could change how energy is harnessed for future generations to come.
"This grant will have a real and significant impact on the total cost of energy for the University of the Virgin Islands," said Johanns. "It should not go unnoticed that these savings allow universities like UVI the ability to put the money where it is needed the most with teachers and students enhancing learning environments."
The grant follows just weeks after a $30 million donation from Veriown's parent company, New Generation Power (NGP), a global renewable energy company, to the UVI to help develop an LCME accredited medical school on the UVI campus that will help transform the quality of life throughout the region.
For more information on Veriown Energy, please visit www.veriown.com.
ABOUT VERIOWN ENERGY
Veriown Energy helps businesses, universities, governments and other institutions harness their on-site distributed solar, other forms of distributed energy, and lock in long-term, predictable energy rates with little to no capital expense. Veriown is an innovation leader in providing tailored distributed energy solutions and advanced micro grid systems, scaling a program to encompass a single campus up to hundreds of buildings throughout the United States. Veriown partners with leading research institutions and Fortune 500 companies to stay on the cutting edge of innovation -- giving their customers an efficient, reliable, clean and sustainable distributed energy supply to help them succeed.
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