Federal grant funds seen to cut power costs


Ike Santos, right, from the Commonwealth Department of Public Works, made the final inspection on Thursday of the $1.3-million federal grant project that will lower electricity costs for 82 families in Koblerville and Garapan. Engineer James Thomas, left, of Pacific Wind and Solar, briefed congressional outreach coordinator Tina Sablan on the how the rooftop solar systems work. Pacific Wind won the High Energy Cost Rural Communities grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2015 and the Marianas congressional office has helped shepherd the project along over the last three years. (Contributed Photo)

After three years, a federally funded project that will lower the cost of electricity for 82 households in Koblerville and Garapan received its final inspection last Thursday. The houses are the property of the Northern Marianas Housing Corp.

Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) has worked as go-between with Pacific Wind and Solar, the local company that applied for the $1.3-million grant, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utility Services, which manages the federal program.

Each of the 3.2-kilowatt systems installed on the roof of the affected homes includes 10 commercial grade solar panels, an inverter to convert DC to AC for residential use, cabling, stainless steel conduit, and safety disconnects. The units have 20-year warranties and are expected to reduce electricity costs for a typical household to zero, once the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. installs net-metering devices at each home. (PR)

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