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Tiny Alaskan Village May Set Solar Pace for Remote Areas

A small solar project in a remote village in Alaska could play a major role in determining whether solar photovoltaic has a future in other areas of the rural north.

LIME VILLAGE, Alaska, US, 2001-10-26 [] The Alaska Energy Authority and BP, in conjunction with McGrath Light & Power and the U.S. Departments of Housing & Urban Development and Energy, have launched a demonstration project to power Lime Village with a hybrid solar and diesel fuel generation system. Performance data and results will be evaluated to assess whether solar power, in combination with diesel generation and battery storage, can be used effectively to reduce power costs and enhance electrical efficiency in other rural areas of the state. Lime Village has 50 residents located on Stony River, 200 miles west of Anchorage. The site was chosen because of its high energy costs, low individual power consumption, latitude, weather and an existing but poorly performing hybrid power system. The village was not electrified until 1998, and power costs average 85 cents per kilowatt-hour. "While this system is still experimental, we're making improvements and refinements to make it more reliable, and we're optimistic about the efforts to bring an effective solar/diesel hybrid system to our village," says village planner Phil Graham. When BP offered additional solar panels for village power, AEA incorporated them under its rural alternative energy research program into a redesigned hybrid system that is expected to reduce diesel use by 30 percent. The facility includes 106 solar panels manufactured at BP Solar's plant in Fairfield, California, a state-of-the-art DC-AC inverter and a small diesel generator. A battery bank from the original demonstration project stores surplus power. Each solar panel will displace 10 gallons of diesel fuel a year and should operate for at least 20 years with little maintenance. Lime Village relies entirely on air transportation, and the recent delivered cost of diesel fuel has been $4 a gallon. Graham says the PV system reduced diesel costs by $2,000 during its first month of operation. Sandia Labs, the research branch of the U.S. Department of Energy, will use performance data from Lime Village to study the optimal mix of power sources in a hybrid generation system to reduce diesel reliance and, as a result, the PV component could be increased.


First Anniversary of The Balkan Floods Highlights Renewable Energy Market Opportunities

Ilias Tsagas, Contributor One year ago this month, severe flooding in Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia killed 79 people, displaced about half a million and caused economic paralysis of the region. In the wake of these the catastrophic events, ...
Canadian Climate Goals

Canada Announces Weak Climate Target

Danielle Droitsch, NRDC Last week, Canada has announced its contribution to the global effort to reduce greenhouse gases by announcing its post-2020 target. The target announced today is off-track to the 80 percent cut by 2050 they committed to in...
Renewable Energy Stocks

What Drives Alternative Energy Stocks?

Harris Roen, The Roen Financial Report Alternative energy became a serious market player after the turn of the millennium. Since that time, solar, wind, smart grid and other alternative energy stocks have experienced both strong up and down trends. The forces at...
Rooftop Solar Panels

Hypocrisy? While Buffett Champions Renewables, His Company Fights Rooftop Solar

Mark Chediak, Noah Buhayar and Margaret Newkirk, Bloomberg Warren Buffett highlights how his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. utilities make massive investments in renewable energy. Meanwhile, in Nevada, the company is fighting a plan that would encourage more residents to use green power.


Volume 18, Issue 3


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