Chicago Sun-Times: This solar-energy startup is following the sun — and the money

Chicago Sun-Times article highlights new Chicago solar company's deal with Virgin Islands.

Veriown's hometown newspaper, the Chicago Sun-Times, weighed this morning on Veriown, the newest player in the emerging distributed solar and distributed energy marketplace.


Full Article at: http://www.chicagogrid.com/reviews/tech/veriown-solar-energy/

Excerpts from the story:

"Much gnashing of teeth accompanies just about any discussion of energy prices in Illinois. But Chicagoans ain't got nothing on residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Islanders pay 58 cents per kilowatt hour, roughly four times the average cost of energy in Illinois. And they use a lot more energy, too. According to the Energy Information Administration, the U.S.V.I. consumes five times more energy per capita as the U.S. average."

"Veriown, a Chicago solar-energy startup, aims to offer the University of the Virgin Islands a way out of the Island's crippling energy costs. Last week, the company, a spinoff of solar-farm developer New Generation Power, inked a 20-year agreement with the university to build 10,000 solar panels on two of its campuses."

"The distributed solar system will use 4.2 acres on the St. Thomas campus and 3.9 acres on a campus on St. Croix to produce 4.5 million kilowatt hours each year, enough to power 1,000 homes and 50 percent of the university's power."


"The company relies on a distributed solar energy model, planning to build individual solar microgrids — essentially small generating plants — at universities, hospitals, military bases, and other large complexes. Veriown then locks each institution into a long-term, fixed-rate contract, as with its Virgin Islands' contract, or leases the technology to the firms in exchange for a monthly rate."

"That's one of the reasons Veriown CEO Steve Johanns believes his firm can scale beyond the Virgin Islands.

"Technology has dramatically influenced the size, capability and accessibility of computing and communicating over the last two decades," CEO Steve Johanns says. "The next two decades, it will do the same to change the way we consume energy. We believe a day will come when everyone will harness his or her very own energy."

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