solar energy


A surge in both residential, utility scale development continues. A growing number of Alaskans are turning to solar energy. “In the last seven years there’s been a huge uptick in grid-tied solar in homes and businesses,” says Chris Pike, research engineer at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Center for Energy and Power (ACEP), which studies solar energy at high latitudes. Pike says that solar panels were once limited to cabins or other remote sites in Alaska but have now become mainstream. He gives Alaska’s high energy costs as one reason. “People are always looking to save money,” he says, explaining that solar is increasingly competitive with other energy sources. Pike adds that while a state like Arizona can produce more solar energy, the savings on Alaska’s high energy costs can add up quicker. A well-placed solar array can pay off installation costs in a decade and the 20-year return on…