Alaska is THE state for solar activity… if you’re talking about the Aurora Borealis (or the northern lighters). The wild, dancing colors in the night sky are the result of the sun’s molten flyaways being absorbed into our atmosphere before it reached Earth.
So it’s a bit ironic that the state with seemingly the closest relationship to the sun doesn’t have more state incentives for investing in solar energy production.
It’s one of few states that haven’t passed a renewable energy standard, a mandate that a specific percentage of its power must come from renewable resources by a specific date.
But with a closer look at Alaska, it’s easy to understand why the state has been slow to promote alternative energy use. It’s the biggest state in the country. Alaskans joke that you could cut their state in half and make Texas the third biggest. The vastness of the state and its sparse population make it difficult to get energy from one place to another. The truth is that there are many Alaskans who use renewable energy sources. But they do it because they have to in most cases.
Aside from infrastructure issues, there are issues with the climate and sunlight in Alaska. The sun activity varies dramatically between southern Alaska, where summer days are 12 hours long and winter days are fewer than six to northern Alaska where summer days are almost 22 hours and winter ones are just a couple hundred dusky minutes.
Still, many an Alaskan will offer testimony that they have installed solar and it works, even during those months of stubby winter days.
The primary reason Alaska hasn’t completely embraced renewable energy subsidies, incentives, and rebates is perhaps that it doesn’t need to.
Alaska is extremely rich in other natural resources. It’s one of the nation’s top coal and natural gas producers. And it is the country’s second largest oil producer. Alaska accounts for one fifth of the United States’ oil production. Prudhoe Bay, the country’s largest oil well, is responsible for 8 percent of the nation’s petroleum.
In 2001 the Alaska legislature voted not to consider new energy sources because members said it wouldn’t be cost effective.
Today, however, there are some government programs, like a state grant program, a performance-based incentive, and a low-interest rate loan program, as well as a number of programs sponsored by local utilities., basic_html