The state of Alaska is going to use solar panels to reduce the use of diesel fuel and cheapen electricity in its remote villages.
The US Department of Energy is funding a new solar plant project in the Native Village of Hughes which consumes 40,000 gallons (more than 151,400 liters) of diesel fuel annually. The power station’s capacity is expected to be only 120 kilowatts. Nevertheless, it’s going to be the largest and most powerful solar plant in Alaska to date.
But will the solar panels work in this harsh environment? It is worth reminding that extended periods of -40 °F (-40 °C) is common in this area. The lowest temperature ever recorded was -68 °F (-55,5 °C).
According to www.energy.gov, the research conducted in 2017 at the Regional Test Center in Williston, Vermont, shows that solar panels can efficiently generate electricity in cold and snowy areas. Moreover, even when solar panels are completely covered by snow, they can still generate electricity.
The new solar panels will be part of a solar-diesel microgrid aimed at reducing the village’s consumption of diesel by 25% and save about $1 million on electricity over the next 20 years.
The project’s implementation is in progress now. The new solar power plant is expected to start generating “green” power in a few months.