This site was created to provide information about solar heating in Alaska.

Cost

Because of the many variables at each site installation costs can vary significantly. Expect installed prices to start at $10,000. For incorporating a new high efficiency heating boiler installed with a solar heating system contact us.

Click the play button on the flash movie below to watch the video "Payback for Solar Heating". 



Incentives

1. Residential renewable energy tax credit

2. Federal incentives for renewables and efficiency

Payment Options

Alascorp accepts Major Credit Cards

Economics

This information is from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service

Solar energy systems are still fairly expensive, but with the tax credit and the ever increasing costs of fuel, solar water heaters have never been more economic or interesting than they are in mid-2008. Although it is certainly advisable and possible to home build solar energy collectors, these collectors would not qualify for the tax credit. That is because the tax credit also has the stipulation that the solar collectors used in a residential system must be certified by a national testing certification agency. The system molded in the collector sizing example (Table 2) is a certified system tested at the Florida Solar Energy Center.

One must have reasonable expectations about performance. Solar radiation is at its minimum in Alaska during November, December and January. This does not mean that no energy can be extracted from the short duration and low sun angle of the winter sun- it can, but the amount of heat energy gained per dollar invested in the system falls short. During these months a back-up system is necessary. But an active solar hot water heating system is practical in several regions in Alaska where fuel prices are high and climate is good. Why does solar water heater work when solar space heaters won't? We use hot water all year long not just in the winter. So more solar heat is available for hot water heating than for space heating: it is more useful all year round, since we need hot water in summer, but don't need to heat our homes when the sunlight and heat are plentiful.

Recently at the Cold Climate Housing Research Center three different active solar water heaters were installed on the roof as a testing option to demonstrate their performance and make this information available to the public. This is a major step forward in promoting and proving up solar water heaters for Alaska.

One of the systems is an evacuated tube collector type system and as you can see from Figure Two, the efficiency of the three main solar thermal technologies is really a function of solar radiation and ambient temperature. This fact should be very strongly considered depending on what kind of heating you need to do. For instance, Figure two shows clearly that if you want to heat water to temperatures from 10 to 50C above the ambient, which is mostly the case for when solar water heating is efficient in Alaska , a flat plate collector is the best choice.

However evacuated tube type systems are best for circumstances when more than 50C above ambient is the application of choice. This seems to infer that evacuated tubes are best for very cold temperatures, but since very cold temperatures in Interior Alaska also mean short solar periods, the ultimate annual performance may not be that crucially advantageous with an evacuated tube collector. The true productivity from evacuated tube system remains to be seen in our climate as none has really been tested. That is the purpose of the new installations at the Cold Climate Housing Research Center.


Tables

Active Domestic Hot Water System
Location Fairbanks Alaska
Water Volume/collector area 1.50 gallons/ft2
Fuel Gas  
Efficiency of fuel usage 70.00 %
Daily hot water usage 60 gallons
Water set temperature 125.0 F
Environmental temperature 67.3 F
UA of auxilary storage tank 0.00 Btu/hr-F
Pipe heat loss No  
Collector-store heat exchange Yes  

Tanks-side flowrate/area

14.000 lb/hr-ft2

Heat excahnger effectiveness

0.55  

Flat-Plate Collector

 

 

 
Number of collector panels 2  
Collector panel area 32.30 ft2
FR*UL (Test slope) 0.870 Btu/hr-ft2-F
FR*TAU*ALPHA (Test intercept) 0.730  
Collector slope 50 degrees
Collector azimuth (South=0) 0 degrees
Incidence angle modifier calculation Value(s)  
Collector Flowrate/area 14.000 lb/hr-ft2
Collector Fluid specific heat 0.84 Btu/lb-F
Modify test vaulues Yes  

Test collector flowrate/area

11.000 lb/hr0ft2

Test fluid specific heat

1.00 Btu


Table 2. An FChart Computer Simulation of an Active Domestic Solar Water Heating Systemo for Fairbanks, Alaska.

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Figures

Figure 2:
Figure 2
Figure 2. Efficiency of the three main solar thermal technologies as a function of insolation and ambient temperature.

 

ALASCORP

Alascorp sells and installs solar hot water equipment for commercial and residential use.

We sell and install solar heating panels and equipment to supplement oil fired, gas or electric hot water heating. Contact us to do the work for you.

Alascorp is an authorized distributor for Enerworks products. Dealer inquiries are invited.


Get this brochure on residential solar heat.

Testimonials

I am now able to thank you for your generous and huge help with making solar hot water a reality. I know its only money but your "good neighbor" willingness and competence should not go unrewarded!! Your help was worth much more. You are what makes Fairbanks a great place to live and learn.
Rich Seifert