Alaska Solar Power Proves Profitable
It’s true that originally solar power was only practical in California, Arizona, and Nevada and those were the only places solar panels were used. But advancements affecting the affordability and effectiveness of solar panels has expanded their practicality to include all of North America and, yes, Alaska. With every new scientific breakthrough in solar power, the day when renewable energy becomes the number one source for electricity gets a little bit closer.
One reason Alaskan homes and businesses are ideal places to switch to the use of solar power is because solar photovoltaic systems are not dependent upon the sun’s warmth to produce energy. The photon energy is what generates power through the solar cells.
It seems a bit backwards, but the hotter the PV solar panel gets due to weather conditions, the lower the output of power. In cold climates, solar PV panels are capable of delivering up to 110% of the output they’re rated for. On the other hand, hot locations such as regions in the Southwestern United States have output that’s significantly reduced because those high temperatures reduce the effective output delivered.
Solar output down in Florida is virtually the same as the solar output in Idaho. How can that be since Florida is exposed to a greater amount of sunlight? It’s because Florida has higher average temperatures. Lower temperatures cause solar PV panels to work more efficiently. For example, the Space Station, which is exposed to temperatures as cold as -250 Fahrenheit, uses solar panels effectively.
During winter months it’s true that Alaska isn’t exposed to much sunlight at all, but the 4 or 5 sunny months make up for the deficit. When the summer sun shines 10 hours per day in Anchorage, Alaska, solar panels produce more power than the same number of solar panels used in Washington State.
As is true in other regions of the U.S., more and more homeowners and businesses are beginning to utilize Alaska solar power. What they find is that the cold winters in Alaska produce a higher output of solar power than what the panels are rated for. And what also may be surprising is that, although solar energy is meant to be harnessed from the sun, the panels can work during the nighttime. Some panels in Alaska produce small amounts of usable power from the sun reflected off of a full moon.
There are breakthroughs in solar technology occurring on a regular basis, which basically means that as solar panels continually evolve, they will become increasingly more practical and affordable for Alaskans.
But there’s no need to wait for the next scientific discovery to use solar power in Anchorage, Alaska, or anywhere else in The Last Frontier. Using solar panels to generate energy is a good idea now, whether installing panels on your rooftop or for the purpose of producing solar hot water.
Consider the building in Anchorage that was built in the 1950s and will soon be infused with solar power. The building’s south side is currently covered with many metal panels. Instead of getting a basic architectural makeover, the building has become a pioneering renewable energy project in the heart of Anchorage’s downtown area. Solar panels are being installed, which makes the building of particular interest to green groups as well as to firms on the cutting edge.
If a building constructed in the 1950s in the heart of Alaska can go green by using solar panels, this proves that no matter where you live, anywhere in the world, you can confidently convert your home or business to solar energy.
If you live in Alaska and would like to explore the potential of solar in your area, contact your local NASS Alaskan member, Solar Store at Northeat. The expert solar technicians at this location have many years of experience designing and installing solar systems for Alaska residents.