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Alaska’s Springtime Solar

March 1, 2018

Alaska’s peak solar producing months are in the spring, rather than the summer.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Alaska’s solar spring. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The sunny southwest isn’t the only region of the United States providing solar power to its residents. Northern states like Massachussetts and New Jersey – and even notoriously dreary Oregon – have become solar energy leaders in recent years. And many Alaskan communities are also reaping solar’s benefits – and not just when sunlight is most plentiful.

ERIN WHITNEY (University of Alaska, Fairbanks):

What’s interesting about solar photovolataic power in Alaska is that the peak production times are not actually in the summer when you might expect them, but actually in the spring. And that has to do with the fact that we have cold temperatures and snow cover.

HIRSHON:

University of Alaska, Fairbanks experimental scientist Erin Whitney explains that when the light returns in spring, Alaska’s snowcover reflects the sun’s rays onto the solar panels, amplifying production. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Susanne Bard