Because of Alaska's dark winters and remote location, solar energy currently holds little promise to economically reduce Alaska’s dependence on fossil fuel energy. Prices for solar electric systems and solar hot water systems make them more expensive than conventional fuel technologies. Although the fuel is free for solar technologies, the capital cost of initially buying and installing an energy capture system is not. It is conceivable that innovative design for specific applications could reduce the capital cost of a system and the solar hot water system might be able to economically offset fuel oil use. Solar hot water systems have many components that are used in conventional fuel systems, and the capital cost of the solar systems is a combination of the costs of these numerous components. On the other hand, the cost of a photovoltaic system resides primarily in photovoltaic panels themselves, and this cost is determined by the worldwide market. It is unlikely that innovations in end-use design will significantly change the capital costs of solar electric installations.
In Alaska, the best candidates for solar use would be sites off of the road system that operate only in the summer months.
The website www.alaskasun.org has excellent information, including a number of publications related to solar installations in Alaska, and a list of contractors and suppliers.
Werner Weiss, Irene Bergmann, Gerhard Faninger Solar Heat Worldwide, edition 2008, Markets and Contribution to the Energy Supply 2006, International Energy Agency Solar Heating & Cooling Programme, May 2008.