The people of Hughes have launched a solar photovoltaic electrification plan to reduce diesel use by 25%. The measure is expected to extend to more than 37 remote communities in that state.

Alaska begins to use solar panels for power generation. The goal is reduce diesel fuel use in remote rural villages, as the use of this resource increases the cost of utility bills, with a high environmental cost.

The new project is located in the Hughes Native Village and is partially funded by the Department of Energy (DOE). The city consumes 40,000 gallons of diesel for power generation each year.

Diesel is carried in obsolete airplanes, used during the Korean War. The city has no fuel storage capacity, so the use of barges is not profitable. This fact makes energy more expensive, since the service costs $ 0.70 per kWh.

Solar electrification in Hughes.

The solar panel installation will integrate a diesel-solar micro-grid that includes energy storage. It is expected to help reduce diesel by 25% and save a million dollars over the next 20 years.

Despite the cold continental weather and snowstorms in Hughes, solar panels have proven to be effective in cold weather.

The project intends to be extended to 37 indigenous communities spread over more than 235,000 square miles in the interior of Alaska. These populations do not have access to national highways and are only accessible by plane, snowmobile or boat.

If these villages use solar energy, you can save half a million gallons of diesel fuel per year.

Project managers consider that the application of photovoltaic systems can generate jobs and increase the security of the power system.

To launch the program, the Office of Energy (DOE) awarded $ 623,900. The Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) donated $ 127,737. It will provide 120 kilowatts (kW) and is expected to reach the power 50% of Hughes’ energy needs by 2025.

The storage system is composed of lithium-ion batteries and it is expected that in summer it will be able to operate exclusively with solar energy when production reaches its maximum.

More information: