It’s hardly any surprise that the Last Frontier is one of the last states in the US to promote solar energy. With some of the least amount of sun during its winter months and large distances between major cities, Alaska is set to continue with its traditional power system. But, strangely enough, this is one place that would surprisingly benefit from solar.
With some of the most expensive energy in the country, Alaskans could save big after installing a renewable energy system. If you’re not sure how much it could cost you, we’ve got it handled. Continue reading to learn everything about solar panel costs in Alaska.
Average Solar Panel Costs in Alaska
While external factors can raise or lower the final price, solar arrays in Alaska typically cost about $2.41 per watt. This is lower than the national average of $3.00 per watt. For a 6kW solar system, Alaskans can expect to pay around $14,460 (compared to $18,000).
We compare this number to the standard Alaskan electricity usage to show the influence of installing a solar array. Homeowners in the Last Frontier typically use 552kWh per month at a rate of $23.31/mWh for an average monthly electric bill of $128.12. Compared to the national average of $122 per month, Alaskans pay more for power than people in other states.
Homeowners in Alaska can financially benefit from installing a solar array, and taking advantage of the federal solar tax credit can help save even more on the cost. This is the United State’s massive incentive to promote sustainable energy across the country. After claiming the 30% return for 2023, The average cost of a 6kW solar system drops to $10,122.
How Much Solar Do You Need?
While the average cost in Alaska gives you a ballpark estimate of what you can expect, it may not represent your personal situation. When determining how much you’ll spend on solar, you first need to know how much you need. To do that, we’ll look at a few aspects:
- Peak sun hours,
- Wattage rating,
- Average electricity usage.
Peak sun hours are the times when your solar panels receive maximum exposure to the sun. These times differ from state to state and are affected by geographic location. In Alaska, the average amount of peak sun hours is 3.99 per day. Of course, this can change depending on where you are (check out this chart for peak sun hours per city).
The wattage rating tells us how much wattage we can expect each solar panel to produce in an hour of peak sun. Residential panels typically range between 100W and 400W.
To determine how much wattage we need our solar panels to produce, we’ll take our average electricity usage per month and break it down per day. Using the Alaskan average of 522kWh, we’ll divide it by 30 to find our daily usage:
522kWh per month / 30 days = 17.4kWh per day
Next, we’ll divide our daily electricity usage by the number of sun hours to determine how many watts per hour our solar array needs to produce:
17.4kWh per day / 3.99 peak sun hours = 4.36kW per hour
With a typical daily electricity usage of 17.4kWh and 3.99 peak sun hours per day, we would need a solar array of 4.36kW to cover our power. If we use the Alaskan estimated price of $2.41 per watt, we can expect our solar panel system to cost around $10,508 before the federal solar tax refund.
Factors that Affect Cost
Alaska’s average price of solar includes more than just solar panels. In a typical 6kW array for $14,460, the price includes all equipment such as mounting brackets, inverters, and batteries. It also covers labor, marketing, and installer profit margins. These aspects can fluctuate depending on a few factors.
The type of solar panel can have a noticeable effect on cost. Monocrystalline panels offer better efficiency and quality but at a higher price. Polycrystalline, on the other hand, doesn’t produce as much power per cell but is more affordable in most cases.
In most cases, panel manufacturers offer discounts on bulk orders. While your overall cost will go up with more wattage, you can expect the price per watt to drop (and vice versa).
A critical aspect to consider when budgeting for solar is the installation company you go with. While some might offer lower quotes on their services, they might be cutting corners on quality and service. And because you want your panels to last up to 25 years, you want to work with a company that will be around the length of your solar array.
Best Solar Panel Installers in Alaska
Arctic Sun is one of the highest-rated installation companies in Alaska. With its headquarters in Fairbanks, the company offers an average installation cost of $13,002. Installing solar since 2011, they use Canadian Solar panels for their array, which rank well with residential users.
Remote Power Inc. is another solar company out in Fairbanks, Alaska. Having started the business in 1999, these installers have deep experience working with renewable energy in the region. They work with some of the largest industrial and commercial ventures in Alaska, which backs their knowledge.
Renewable Energy Systems is a highly-rated installer out of Anchorage, Alaska. As a fairly new company founded in 2020, these professionals are responding to the massive influx of enthusiasm around solar energy. This company also prefers Canadian Solar for its installations.
Can Solar Save You Money?
When looking at the solar panel costs in Alaska, one of the first considerations is whether or not they will save money in the long run. To determine how long it takes for Alaskans to pay off their system, we need to compare the cost of the array to the average savings per year on electricity.
The typical cost of a 6kW solar system in Alaska is $14,460. Covering an annual electric bill of 1,537.44 (from a monthly average of $128.12), Alaskans can expect to pay off their array in 9.4 years. From that point, you’ll start earning money back in the form of utility savings.
Solar panels have a standard life expectancy of 20 to 25 years. This means Alaskans with a solar array can see earnings well after paying it off. A solar array lasting 20 years can save users about $16,297 over the course of their lifetime (after the system is paid off).
To save even more on solar energy, the federal, state, and local governments offer special incentives. In addition to taking advantage of the federal solar tax credit, homeowners in Alaska should look for incentives in their state and city.
Solar Panels Cost in Alaska: Further Reading
When looking at solar panel costs in Alaska, homeowners might find that an investment in an array can prove financially beneficial. Using alternative energy to power our homes is just one way the technology is influencing our lives. For more on the solar industry, check out the articles below.
- 7 Solar-Powered EVs You Can Buy Today – Finally, the dream of solar cars is coming true. Here are the brands making it happen.
- The 6 Best Solar-Powered Battery Packs You Can Buy Today – Always have a charge with these battery banks that can renew in the sun.
- A Guide to All of Tesla’s Gigafactories, ad Where They Are Located – Tesla plans to lead the technology industry with its never-before-seen gigafactories.
- Aptera Motors: Guide to the Solar Electric Vehicle Manufacturer – No name is more synonymous with solar EVs than Aptera Motors. Here’s what you need to know about them.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Millenius/Shutterstock.com.