ACEP solar test site - a man working on a solar panel

Solar Technologies Program

The ACEP Solar Technologies Program works to support responsible and equitable development of solar photovoltaic (PV) technology in Alaska and other cold regions and high latitude areas where it is technically and economically warranted.  We will accomplish this mission by improving our understanding of the Alaska solar resource, identifying new technologies and novel configurations that can improve energy outputs and ease integration concerns, and improving our understanding of the cost, performance, and durability of existing systems along with common failure modes.

In addition, the Solar Technologies Program works closely with other ACEP programs, including the Power Systems Integration Program and the Pacific Marine Energy Center to identify strategies and best practices for integrating solar PV along with other variable energy sources into electric grids. The Solar Technologies Program also works with solar installers and utilities to achieve maximum cost savings and grid stability.

Solar Program Research Priorities

Student researcher inspecting equipment
Optimizing solar PV for high latitude and cold locations

Better understand the effect of Alaska’s environmental conditions on solar technology performance and durability. The program studies the opportunities that high latitudes present to solar PV installations such increased performance of bifacial modules, high ground albedo, a wide variation in seasonal azimuth angles, and cold weather performance.

Solar panel with ice and snow on it
Testing New Solar Technologies and Site Designs

Through testing at the UAF solar test site in Fairbanks, and other instrumented sites around the state, the program tests different solar technologies to maximize energy production, robustness and durability, and reduce maintenance needs under northern conditions.

Man working on solar equipment
Colocating Solar PV with Agriculture

The colocation of solar energy generation with agriculture production, often referred to as agrivoltaics, has the potential to reduce land use conflicts and provide economic opportunities for farmers and the solar industry. Research led by ACEP is working to study northern agrivoltaics and develop tools for farmers and the solar industry to use for future project planning.

Performance & Cost Anaylsis
Performance & Cost Anaylsis

Track and quantify trends in solar PV installation costs and performance in both rural and urban areas in Alaska for multiple types and configurations of PV arrays.

Information Dissemination
Information Dissemination

Through close collaboration with industry partners ACEP distributes useful analysis and information about solar technology in Alaska to a wide variety of stakeholders.

Public Resources

Alaska Solar Manual

Alaska-specific solar energy design information in one easy volume.

Webinar on Installing Solar

Detailed presentation on the economics and logistics of installing solar in Alaska.

Railbelt Net Metering Reports

Net metering data compiled from recent Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) filings.

Alaska Solar Installation Database

List of solar installations across Alaska.

Solar Technologies Project Highlights

Solar power in Homer, Alaska

Dec 01

The agrivoltaics project investigates opportunities for maximized economic benefits and efficient use of land for clean energy production and sustainable food production in northern and rural North America.

Snow shedding off solar panels

Sep 20

This project aims to better characterize the performance of solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays in high latitude and cold climates.

solar panel test site

Sep 20

This project tracks the performance and cost of solar photovoltaic technology in Alaska.

Solar Photovoltaic Test Site

The solar photovoltaic (PV) test site is a research platform located on the UAF campus (~65° North). The goal of the installation is to characterize performance enhancements of bifacial solar PV panels at high latitudes.

Solar test site in winter


Solar Technologies Team