Let’s talk solar power and energy independence in Alaska.

If you are considering a grid-tied system, plan for free power March through October and don’t worry about the remainder. It’s not cost effective to fully offset your power bill in the deep winter with a huge array potentially covered in snow.  Instead, select an inverter size likely to cover your needs April through August and slightly oversize the solar array for the shoulder seasons.  If possible, be aggressive with your array angle for the same reasons. March-April are often my best months with a strong albedo effect from the snow.

Off-grid systems have really evolved in the past few years in terms of simplicity and reliability. This is an area where you get what you pay for. Considering our environment, the difficulty of remote transport, and sometimes limited choices, I recommend doing things right the first time. Use solar to the greatest extent possible to keep generator run times to a minimum.  Lithium batteries are clean, safe, self-heating, and charge quickly for when you do need the generator in the deep winter. Always consider how many “useable” amp hours are available in a battery. Flat mounted panels are cost effective, maximize winter solar gain, and shed snow.