Alaska: A Unique Environment for Renewable Energy
UAF has an obligation and opportunity to foster sustainability in the north. Alaska is rich in renewable energy potential and is poised to grow our local economies. This is particularly true in rural Alaska where the high cost of fuel (mostly diesel and gasoline) creates a greater economic incentive, compared to populated grid-tied areas. Thus Alaskan rural communities are in the unique situation to lead the world in small-scale, interrogated renewable energy systems and UAF has the opportunity to exemplify this potential and to help Alaska emerge with leading experts and exporters of advanced renewable energy knowledge and technique. Each successful efficiency upgrade, weatherization, and renewable energy project helps secure our community from the volatility of the fossil fuel market.
Solar PV power for UAF
When analyzing the potential for integrating renewable energy systems into the current UAF power system, wind and hydro capacity are negligible on campus. In Alaska, solar-thermal-heating is the most efficient way to capture solar radiance, due to the low solar density of our northern latitude. However, because of the power plant’s ability to produce hot water from waste-heat, this technology would be redundant. Thus, solar photovoltaic (PV) is appropriate for UAF.
SRC Solar PV
UAF Student Recreation Center (SRC) Solar PV
The first student solar project on campus was conducted in 2012 on the SRC, designed to be a 13kW system. The SRC system replaces about 4 percent of the 2009 yearly load when it was designed. As energy efficiencies within the SRC increase so will this percentage. There is no need for batteries; all of the power produced by the panels is utilized immediately or if not needed by the SRC, the electricity will be used by the university grid system. The SRC has a higher summer load than winter load. This is due to the need to circulate more air through the building in the summer months.
Solar Panels for Student Recreation Center (.PDFs)
- Report: SRC Solar PV Project: Integrating Renewable Energy into UAF's Campus
- Appendix for SRC Solar PV Project
A survey was conducted in November of 2010 to better understand the students stance on Solar PV at UAF.
Download the complete Solar PV Data below.
Sustainable Village Solar PV
The Sustainable Village Solar project is a partnership between the student sustainability/RISE board, University of Alaska Community and Technical College, GVEA, UAF students and the Cold Climate Housing Research Center.
University Avenue Fire Station
The University Fire Station with help from a RISE grant installed a 3.2kW solar array in the summer of 2012. The energy is connected to the GVEA’s utility grid through the SNAP program.
Office of Sustainability student workers installed the system will help from local electricians and the fire department staff. In 2013, another 3.2kW system was installed bringing the total available output to 6.4k-W.
“The Department desires to be good stewards of the resources provided by the University of Alaska and the University Fire Service Area in the Fairbanks North Star Borough. However, there are important intrinsic benefits as well. Installing a solar array will demonstrate to the public, Borough officials, and our peers in the Interior Alaska Fire Service that the University Fire Department is leading the charge towards sustainable operations, and that solar power is economically and logistically viable for public industrial-type applications. Furthermore, this would reinforce the value of sustainability and appeal to the student firefighters we are training for futures in emergency services”.
University Fire Station Data:
Process Technology Shop Sustainability Solar/Wind Hybrid System
In the spring of 2013, the CTC Process Technology program was funded to develop a sustainable power grid for the shop that is used in the training of students. This solar/wind hybrid system provides power savings to the shop, reduce operating costs, and provide an educational tool for renewable energy and power generation.
The long-term goal of the system is to allow deconstruction and reconstruction of components in the system to train students in process safety, monitoring, operations, and design, all necessary components for process, instrument, and power generation technicians. Long term return on investment through GVEA SNAP program.
Solar and Wind at the pipeline training center are now complete and on the grid. The solar website (use chrome or firefox) is http://fptcsolar.alaska.edu and the wind is http://fptcwind.alaska.edu. The username and password are "user" and "user" for both sites.