How can I see if solar is right for my home or business?

We provide comprehensive free solar assessments for homes and businesses.

Contact us at 907-268-4188 or company@arcticsolarventures.com or www.facebook.com/arcticsolarventures to see what solar energy can do for you.

How does solar work?

We can change sunlight directly to electricity using solar cells. Every day, light hits your solar panels with photons (particles of sunlight). The solar panel converts those photons into electrons of direct current (“DC”) electricity. The electrons flow out of the solar panel and into an inverter and other electrical safety devices. The inverter converts that “DC” power (commonly used in batteries) into alternating current or “AC” power. AC power is the kind of electrical that your television, computer, and toasters use when plugged into the wall outlet.

What is the maintenance on solar panels?

Solar panels are in it for the long haul. There are no digital processors, no delicate motherboards, no flywheels, no pumps and no fans. There are very few moving parts that can break or wear out, and as a result the require almost no maintenance. The components of the panel are durable and include a glass-protected solar cell that captures sunlight. A solar panel sits in one place and absorbs the sun.

How long do solar systems last?

Solar modules come with a manufacturer’s warranty for a lifecycle of 25 years. Depending on the quality and installation, systems will last 30 + years.

What is the solar tax credit?

The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is currently a 30 percent federal tax credit claimed against the tax liability of residential (Section 25D) and commercial and utility (Section 48) investors in solar energy property. The Section 25D residential ITC allows the homeowner to apply the credit to his/her personal income taxes. This credit is used when homeowners purchase solar systems outright and have them installed on their homes. In the case of the Section 48 credit, the business that installs, develops and/or finances the project claims the credit.

A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the income taxes that a person or company claiming the credit would otherwise pay the federal government. The ITC is based on the amount of investment in solar property. Both the residential and commercial ITC are equal to 30 percent of the basis that is invested in eligible property which have commence construction through 2019.

How do solar panels perform in Alaska?

Solar performs much better in Alaska than people think because solar panels function more efficiently in the colder climates. Cooler temperatures and longer daylight hours give Alaska an enviable advantage for solar energy that it once did not have. Improved technology, higher efficiency, and lower costs have opened up an entirely new world for solar in Alaska. Our peak production season is between 8-9 months in most areas. Overproduction in the summer is banked with the utility and those credits carry-over into winter months. In most cases we can achieve 50%-100% solar offset for homes with net-metering.

What is net metering? Does Alaska have net metering?

Net metering is a billing system that allows electric customers to sell energy generated by a solar pv system on their home or business back to their electric utility. In effect this allows the utility to serve as a battery storing the energy generated from solar for use at a later date and time.

Every kWh produced in a given month within the threshold of total consumption will be credited at a dollar-for-dollar retail rate. Excess electricity in a given month will be credited at a wholesale rate. These credits can be used in subsequent months and do not expire.

Graphic: typical solar production curve showing summer overproduction in Midtown-Anchorage

Should I remove snow from my solar panels?

No, you don’t have to remove snow from your solar panels. We recommend against getting up on your roof to clear snow off of your panels. The panels are dark and gather enough heat to eventually melt snow, which will slide off the panels. In some cases, snow cover might even help production by reflecting sunlight. Removing snow yourself could harm a panel or catch the solar racking and the 25-year panel warranty doesn’t cover damage caused by the owner. Plus, getting up on a snowy roof would risk your safety, which is our most important concern.

Is it true that solar panels produces more electricity on clear winter days? Why?

Yes it is! Solar panels actually produce more power and are more efficient at colder temperatures. Heat is hard on electronics, so winter provides more efficient energy production. Even with that fact, the shorter days of winter are real factors in determining PV potential throughout Alaska. We calculate year-round production so that you can count on over-producing during the summer.

What does residential solar cost?

Solar for your home typically will cost between $15k-$20k up front, of which you will also receive a 30% tax credit. Out of pocket expenses after the credit are $12k-$15k, which get paid off through energy production in 8-10 years typically. That is as good as anywhere in the United States. Solar always produces electricity at less than the cost of your existing utility.

How does solar perform in high wind areas?

All of our systems are fully designed and engineered to meet the required wind speeds of each AHJ in Alaska. In most cases that is 130mph. A properly designed and engineered system will have no problem with Alaska wind.

What is community solar and how/ why is it good for Alaska?

Community solar is a program where multiple subscribers can purchase energy and share the benefits being produced at a nearby, centralized solar installation. “Utility” community solar is when a utility company builds and owns the community solar array and allows its customers to purchase renewable energy from the shared facility, often times resulting in lower annual utility payments for the customer. Community solar provides large amounts of clean energy to communities, reduces generator loads, and typically costs less than fossil fuels.

What are the maintenance and service costs of solar?

Solar typically has the least maintenance and service costs of any type of energy generation. If designed, engineered, and built correctly, a solar installation should be maintenance-free for the majority of its lifespan. In addition, we use all-metal hardware for cable management to ensure that no areas of the installation provide weak points for failures in the field.