Sunnova pitches solar energy investment to CUC

With an $85 million funded portfolio set aside for Guam, the CNMI, and the Federated States of Micronesia, a company based in Guam wants to invest that money in solar energy for homes in the CNMI.

Jeffrey Voacolo, chief of operations for Micronesia Renewable Energy, Inc, told the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. that they want to start an “industry” on Saipan.

Sunnova, which is the mother company of Micronesia Renewable Energy, has already invested $7 million in Guam, he said.

“This is a way for the community to save a great amount of money without allocating any monies upfront and without risk. This program is working perfectly in Guam and I would like to invite anyone here…to please come to Guam and see the 100-plus system that we have built to date,” Voacolo said in his written testimony.

Citing an “integration study” from 2013, he said the transmission, distribution, and generation of solar energy could be “easily handled” on Saipan.

Voacola said that Sunnova/MRE is a program that will place more disposable income in the pockets of ratepayers.

It “will also help create an industry,” he wrote.

He said their firm hires and trains local tradesmen who are paid above market rates. He pointed to the “building of a new industry that will grow over the years” as the firm hires more for the installation of these systems.

“This program is real,” he said, adding they have been installing these systems in Guam for the last five months.

If allowed to do so, the company would hook into the current net metering program, which allows solar generators like that in the Marianas Business Plaza to hook into CUC’s power grid so surplus energy is transferred to the grid. This allows a customer to offset the cost of power drawn from the utility.

Dennis B. Chan | Reporter
Dennis Chan covers education, environment, utilities, and air and seaport issues in the CNMI. He graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Guam. Contact him at dennis_chan@saipantribune.com.

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