Even on the darkest day of the year — in one of the darkest states — solar finds a way.
A solar installation on a building at 880 H Street in downtown Anchorage, Alaska, began producing solar energy during one of the darkest weeks of the year. The installation, designed by Arctic Solar Ventures in Anchorage, will supply 15 percent of the 20,000 square-foot commercial office space’s annual energy usage, significantly reducing its overall annual energy costs.
“Solar energy has tremendous potential in Alaska that’s just now starting to be tapped, for residential and commercial properties alike,” said Stephen Trimble, founder and CEO of Arctic Solar Ventures. “It’s the fastest growing energy industry in the world, and the price of the sun will never change. As technology advances, affordability rises. As utility-based energy rates rise, so too does the value of the energy produced by solar.”
Utility-tied solar electric systems like the one installed at 880 H Street work in tandem with the electricity produced by utility companies to provide year-round uninterrupted electricity. The amount of electricity produced by the solar on a home or building offsets an equal amount of electricity that would have otherwise been purchased from the utility.
Why the winter solstice?
“Having this system commissioned on winter solstice is a testament to idea that solar can absolutely be a part of Alaska’s energy future,” said Chase Christie, vice president of business development at Arctic Solar Ventures. “There’s a big question in the minds of many Alaskans of whether or not solar works in Alaska, but in fact, Alaska receives roughly the same amount of annual solar energy potential as Germany, which has more than six times the amount of installed solar than we have in the entire United States. It’s our hope that projects like this will help convey that fact.”
The building owner is expected to save more than $300,000 dollars over 30 years from the solar investment. Federal incentives for projects such as this include a 30 percent federal tax credit toward the total cost of the installation and commercial building owners who install solar can deduct the depreciation of the solar investment on their federal taxes.
- The installation is a 25-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system
- It will provide 15 percent of the 20,000 square-foot commercial office space’s annual energy usage
- The building owner is expected to save more than $300,000 dollars over 30 years from the solar investment
- Alaska receives roughly the same amount of annual solar energy potential as Germany, a country with more than six times the amount of installed solar than the United States
— Solar Builder magazine