Because of the volatility of energy prices around the world, the quest for alternative sources of energy continues to gather momentum. On the face of it, trying to harness solar energy might not seem practical in a place with dark, cold winters like Alaska. But while it is true that initially the use of solar power was more practical in the primarily sunny states like Nevada and Arizona, technological advances have made solar panels more effective and affordable, even for people in Alaska. Over the last five years, costs of solar panels have declined by 80% due to increased global demand and production of solar panel components on a bigger scale.
A major reason Alaska is ideal for solar power is the fact that modern photo-voltaic (PV) cells do not rely on the warmth of the sun to generate energy. Instead, the solar cells use photon energy to produce power. It is also important to note that in places with hot weather conditions, the PV solar panel can get super hot. This can lower the power output. In colder climates like Alaska, a solar PV panel can even deliver 10% more power than its stated rating. Even in a space station or the Hubble Telescope, where temperatures can go as low -250 degrees Fahrenheit, solar panels are still effective. Conversely, in hotter climates such as Nevada, the power output of a solar panel is significantly reduced because the high temperatures can have a negative effect on the effectiveness of energy production.
In addition, while it is true that Alaska does not enjoy a lot of sunlight, this deficit is more than compensated for during the summer months. For example, in the city of Anchorage, where the summer sun lasts for 10 hours every day, a solar panel will generate more power than a similar panel in Washington State.
More and more people are starting to use solar power in Alaska. The usage of solar energy has therefore become practical,particularly as an alternative energy source, and solar panels are a common sight throughout the state. Even large enterprises like the Alaska Railroad have joined the solar energy bandwagon. People are finding out that the solar panels can produce power that exceeds their rating. They are also becoming aware that solar panels can also generate power at night. There are even some panels which produce viable energy using the sun reflected by a full moon.
Unlike people in other states of America, Alaskans do not enjoy state-wide solar energy rebates. But if you are a homeowner, you can get 30% federal tax credits if you use a solar energy system. Certain municipalities also give property tax exemptions to those who install solar power systems on their properties. This enhances the value of the home, yet no tax is paid on the increased value.
There are also utilities that offer performance payments if you are generating power through solar. The company is credited because it uses renewable energy and you get paid for generating electricity. Net metering is another benefit for those who install solar power in Alaska. Through net metering, you buy the electricity from the grid operated by the utility whenever you need it, but you can, in turn, sell the excess power production from your solar energy system to the utility.This enables you to offset your total electricity costs.
As more breakthroughs are being witnessed in solar technology, the solar panel will keep on evolving. Each new scientific innovation touching on solar energy brings the prospect of solar energy becoming the main source of electricity closer. The effect of this is that solar energy will continue to become a more affordable and practical energy option for people in Alaska.
If you are wanting to slash your bills by at least 50 percent, give Solar 360 a call. We’ll answer all of your questions and get you started down the road to solar power freedom.