Florida Power Services received a phone call from their lead installer Kyle one afternoon mid 2014, when he told them he had a lead for an off grid project in Naples. Two weeks later they received a call from Mr. Jim Biden, Vice President Joe Biden's brother, who told me them he just purchased a vacation home for his family on Keewaydin Island and there was no utility power available. The property was powered by a 33 kW diesel generator which burned roughly 280 gallons of diesel a week. With no roads to the island the fuel had to be transported by boat adding a delivery charge on top of the fuel cost, which was around $1,100 a week to power the property. They started looking at some options around 10 kW, but like any off grid project the loads kept adding up as did the energy storage requirement, and by the beginning of July they had agreed on a 33 kW solar array and a 40 kW Lithium Ion battery bank. The existing generator was to be serviced and remain for a backup after the batteries were depleted. Mr Biden insisted on using high quality American made modules on his project, so they chose to go with Solarworld panels. After a few weeks working with the team at Civic Solar, they submitted the permit application to Collier County. The plan review took a few weeks (due to the complexity of the wiring and AC/DC sources) but was approved the middle of July. Their crew hit the island on July 22nd to begin the installation, the Biden’s graciously invited them to stay in the home during the project.
For the next seven weeks they lived on the island; they had no fresh water the first 8 days and took advantage of the Gulf of Mexico for bathing needs. The only fresh water source on the property was a rain water collection system and they didn’t have a drop for more than a week. The generator died mid first week and was down for a few days while repairs and maintenance were performed, but they remained in good spirits thanks to their beautiful surroundings.
CivicSolar worked with them on custom enclosures to accommodate the space requirements in the equipment room.
The panels have been installed
The Li Battery Bank is being worked on at the Biden off-grid house