Polar Racking chosen by Branson group for St. Thomas solar rebuild

The 6.4 MW Donoe Solar Farm in St. Thomas, damaged in 2017, will use Polar’s PRU fixed-tilt racking system.

April 16, 2021

Canadian solar mounting system supplier Polar Racking has been selected by BMR Energy as its racking & foundation supplier and mechanical installer to re-build the 6.4 megawatt Donoe Solar Farm in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Donoe Solar farm was originally built at a capacity of 4.8 MW in 2014. It was one of several projects heavily damaged by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria in 2017. In the years since those two storms, the solar industry has reviewed the impact of hurricanes and moved to improve the resiliency of ground-mount solar systems, much like what the industry is doing with hail.

This increased focus on resiliency led to Polar’s selection for the reconstruction. BMR said it recognized that Polar’s PRU fixed-tilt racking system is engineered to handle heavy loads from wind, slopes, and a wide range of variable ground conditions.

“Polar and BMR conducted an extensive site investigation and component testing program to support the design of the racking structures and foundations,” said Vishal Lala, managing director of Polar Racking. “BMR is confident that the new racking and module attachment system will withstand future weather events.”

Polar and PRI Engineering, a geotechnical engineering consulting firm, visited the island last October to conduct a detailed geotechnical investigation and foundation testing plan.

Reconstruction is planned to start this spring, and Donoe is planned to be back in service before the end of the year. Polar’s scope of work is expected to take three months to complete. The facility will sell power to the Virgin Island Power and Water Authority (VIWAPA) under a 25-year power purchase agreement.

Donoe highlights Polar Racking’s ongoing focus on the Caribbean. They have previously installed over 20 MW of rooftop and ground-mount solar racking across the Caribbean including Barbados, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Belize, and other islands. Elsewhere, Polar has worked on projects all over Canada and the US, including ongoing projects in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Florida, Minnesota, and California.

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