Regarding the 2018 solar tariff

We have received many questions and concerns regarding the recently announced Section 201 trade case decision, in which a graduated import tariff will be placed on imported solar PV modules and cells.

Let’s break down the facts on this tariff.

  1. The tariff is on non-U.S. made solar PV modules and cells (a component of PV modules) only and does not affect other system components (90% of a typical solar installation);

  2. The tariff will gradually step down from 30% in 2018, 5% per-year until it expires in 4 years;

  3. The first 2.5 gigawatts of imported modules and cells will be exempt every year.

How does this affect Arctic Solar Ventures and our customers?

It has always been a priority for ASV to use U.S made solar PV modules and components therefore our customers can expect to see little effect from this tariff.

The solar industry in Alaska is a growing market and you can count on us to continue to deliver the best pricing, solutions, and resources for our customers.

Thank you,

Stephen Trimble

Founder | CEO

Tech Tidbit: What is Solar Load Ratio?

Solar Load Ratio is an important aspect of designing a PV system. Often overlooked and somewhat misunderstood – solar load ratio can make a mediocre solar project turn in to a star through skillful design.

The basic of solar load ratio involve the DC/AC power conversion that takes place in all solar PV systems. All solar PV modules produce DC power and inverters convert that into AC power, which we use in our homes and buildings. A 4.8kW (DC) array combined with 4kW of (AC) inverters has a solar load ratio of 1.2 (4.8kW / 4kW = 1.2). The difference between 4.8kW/ 4kW is called the “clipping loss” as the inverters clip the power output from the modules. Many designers use load ratios of 1.0 to 1.2, but we design our projects between 1.25 to 1.4.

How do inverters clip power?

Every inverter has a maximum power load that it receives from PV modules. This is important for two reasons. 1) output ratings of inverters have specific power and voltage ranges and 2) building AC panels also have maximum power ratings. Inverters do not output more than their maximum rated AC power. When DC input is higher than AC capacity, the inverter raises operating voltage of the modules to pull the array off of its max power point – reducing DC power output.

Why do 1.25 and above DC/AC ratios produce better performing projects in Alaska?

Two reasons. 1) Solar PV module outputs are rated at standard test conditions (STC). These conditions are rarely met in the field, but adjusting higher load ratios keeps modules performing at closer to STC conditions. 2) solar PV modules output at higher voltages in colder temperatures (and conversely lower in hot temperatures – lowering production). When modules are producing strong power outputs on a cooler day in Alaska this can produce close to STC conditions for short periods of time. Those times offer peak performance and clip power, but generally occur 10% or less of the time.

During the rest of the time having a higher load ratio along with our cooler air temperatures keeps modules perform at higher output levels for longer periods of time.

In an analogy, this allows a solar designer to keep the fuel tank (inverter) filled longer by the engine (PV module) to deliver better performance over time (kWh).

Let’s take a look at a 1.2 vs 1.4 load ratio. A 4kW AC system with a load ratio of 1.2 produces 4,238kWh a year. That system with a load ratio of 1.4 would produces 5,309kWh. That additional output ends up to be a lot over time. The more kWh you produce – the quicker your return.

1.2 Solar PV Load Ratio

1.4 Solar PV Load Ratio

This highlights how and why you can build solar in Alaska and have it perform and return just as well as anywhere in the United States. Producing power at rates at least half that of utility rates, returns of 8-10 years, and providing 50%-100% of annual power with solar.

We make solar specifically for Alaska. That is the Arctic Solar Ventures difference.

2017 Impact Report: Our Year in Review

Arctic Solar Ventures – 2017 Impact Report

As we welcome 2018 and reflect on 2017, we are so appreciative of our employees and all of our customers and vendors who supported us throughout the year. Having so many individuals and businesses support clean and renewable energy and a company trying to make positive changes has been not only humbling, but empowering.

Without a doubt, 2017 was a banner year for solar in Alaska. Solar is booming due to lower equipment costs, the extension of the thirty percent federal tax credit, rising utility costs, and local incentives (net-metering).

We are pleased to share our 2017 Impact Report with you. We culminated our impacts into four main categories; Economy, Safety, Community, and Environment.

In 2017, Arctic Solar Ventures employees spent 6,252 hours working on projects in and out of the office. We had many wonderful opportunities to team up with and utilize forty-five different companies around Alaska. We are grateful to be able to share our vision with so many businesses and look forward to working with even more in 2018. Aside from impacting the Alaskan economy by creating jobs and opportunities for Alaskan workers, we also saw half a million dollars in first year utility and tax savings by our customers!

Here at Arctic Solar Ventures, we spend a lot of time ensuring that all of our projects are completed in a timely manner while still keeping in mind the overall design of the house, and utilizing the highest quality products. Our employees spent 800 hours training with industry professionals this year to make sure we execute all of our projects correctly. Above all, we take the safety of our team members and customers into consideration every day. In 2017, out of 6,252 hours worked, we had zero safety incidents, zero time lost on projects, and zero equipment failures.

This year we were pleased to spend 350 hours with local organizations introducing a clean and renewable energy source and actively teaching our community members about the benefits of solar specifically in Alaska. We completed projects on low income housing, the UAA Admin building paid for by the Student Green Fee Board, and even a veterinary clinic in Homer. We held ten different workshops with organizations like Girl Scout Troop 483 and the Carpenters Union. We participated in community educational talks at 49th State Brewing Company, Bear Tooth, and the Nature Conservancy. We donated ten percent of our overall profit in 2017 to local charities and we look forward to giving back even more in 2018.

In 2017, Arctic Solar Ventures projects produced 2,000 megawatt hours of clean energy. Those projects offset the greenhouse gas emissions produced by 367 gasoline-fueled passenger vehicles per-year, or the equivalent of carbon dioxide emissions produced by 185 homes per-year. Our projects will sequester the amount of carbon equal to the planting and growth of 44,400 trees per-year.

2017 was an amazing year for solar in Alaska and for our company. Thank you to all of you who contributed to our success and continue to push for a better and safer economy, community, and environment. We wish you a happy New Year and look forward to expanding solar in 2018.