Sited a few hundred miles south of the Arctic Circle, the Willow farm gets less than six hours of daylight during the winter months. In January, the Alaskan solar company Renewable IPP switched this 10-acre farm on, making it the largest in the state. Its output is expected to be 1.35 megawatt hours per year – enough to provide power for about 120 average homes year-round. The farm is made up of 11 rows of panels, nine 133 kW rows and two smaller 70kW rows that were the farm’s pilot project.
The pace of climate change in the Arctic and its surroundings is much greater than other parts of the world, leading to an urgent need to reduce the use of fossil fuels and expand renewable energy options. Renewable’s four founding business partners met while working in Alaska’s oil industry. The four shared a mutual interest in renewable energy, with some of them having experimented with DIY solar projects at home. After generating power for their own homes, they wanted to find a way to expand solar within the state.