The solar photovoltaic arrays highlighted here are part of the Cold Climate Housing Research Center's Hybrid Micro Energy Project (HMEP). HMEP, a combination of energy producing systems, is being designed for the high-latitude challenge of minimal solar energy during the long winter when energy demand is greatest and bountiful solar energy in the summer when demand is minimal. Knowledge of several individual local solar installations have shown that solar can be successful in the North. What has been lacking is a demonstration solar photovoltaic project, which produces operational data based on unbiased scientific monitoring and analysis. The purpose of this project is not to demonstrate a large, utility-scale solar generation system common to urban areas. Rather, it is to design, install, demonstrate, monitor, and evaluate a 10 kW PV system that can be integrated with other energy systems on a small scale for use in urban or rural, northern communities. These solar photovoltaic arrays are designed to operate in many modes so that data can be collected on the most effective system setup for northern latitudes.
Contributors to HMEP include the BP Foundation, the Fairbanks North Star Borough, the State of Alaska, Siemens, GW Scientific, Remote Power Incorporated, University of Alaska Fairbanks, EEInternet, the Cooperative Extension Service, and Golden Valley Electric Association.
Power generated by our solar arrays is currently sold back to our local Electrical Utility as a part of the Golden Valley Electric Association's Sustainable Natural Alternative Power (SNAP) Program. As a part of this program we can earn up to $1.50 per kilowatt-hour produced which is dependent on the number of voluntary contributions from the public the program receives and how many SNAP producers are generating in the area.