U.S. Virgin Islands
As the first U.S territory to achieve SolSmart designation, the U.S. Virgin Islands developed and implemented a streamlined, web-based distributed solar generation permitting portal. In 2020, the Virgin Islands Energy Office secured funding to develop a solar-plus-storage microgrid pilot project at the St Croix Educational Complex’s emergency shelter, and expects to replicate this project as a resiliency standard at other critical government facilities.
- Created an online permitting checklist, increasing transparency for community members and solar installers
- Reviewed local zoning codes and identified restrictions that intentionally or unintentionally prohibit solar PV development
- Allowed solar by-right accessory use in all zones (so solar installations don’t require special permits or hearings)
- Cross-trained both inspection and permitting staff on solar PV
- Provided a streamlined permitting pathway for small PV systems