Home
Field Notes
 
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
KOYUKUK/NOWITNA: Refuges and UniversityPartner for Solar Power
Alaska Region, April 1, 2006
Print Friendly Version
Solar panels and batteries are located at this small building next to the education center.
Solar panels and batteries are located at this small building next to the education center. - Photo Credit: n/a
Digging the trench to run lines to the education center was a cold job in late December.
Digging the trench to run lines to the education center was a cold job in late December. - Photo Credit: n/a
Eddie Davidson (ABS Alaskan Inc.) demonstrates the solar power system to Galena Residents at the Open House in February 2006.
Eddie Davidson (ABS Alaskan Inc.) demonstrates the solar power system to Galena Residents at the Open House in February 2006. - Photo Credit: n/a

The soaring price of diesel fuel has villages throughout Alaska concerned about the economic costs and sustainability of generating power.  The Koyokuk-Nowitna Refuges in Galena partnered with Fairbanks-based ABS Alaskan Inc., the City of Galena, and the Yukon-Koyukuk Center of the University of Alaska to use leftover solar panels and batteries from decommissioned radio sites to power a new educational facility in Galena.  The project will supplement power to the building and provide backup power in the event of an extended power outage for the University’s new rural campus. 

Trenching for the underground lines to connect solar-powered batteries to the educational center took place December 21, the winter solstice or shortest day of the year--a day on which people think a lot about the sun.  This unusual midwinter digging was noticed by many village residents and generated a great deal of curiosity and interest in the new educational building. 

Eddie Davidson of ABS Alaskan returned to Galena for the open house of the University’s new structure and explained to local residents how the system works and described practical uses of alternative energy in rural Alaska.  The open house was attended by some 25 residents, many specifically interested in the solar project. 

 The solar panels are capable of generating 440 watts of power in full sunlight or almost half the power needed to operate the lights and furnace in the University’s building.  Excess power generated when the building is closed is stored in a large battery bank capable of sustaining the building’s lights and furnace for 48 hours of continuous use.  The system was designed with expansion in mind.  A wind turbine or additional solar panels can be added to provide even more power to the building.             

While small projects like this will not significantly reduce the diesel generated power consumption of a village the size of Galena (pop. 650), they do raise awareness and inspire people to consider alternatives to traditional ways of generating electricity.


Contact Info: Kristen Gilbert, 907-786-3391, Kristen_Gilbert@fws.gov



Send to:
From:

Notes:
Find a Field Notes Entry

Search by keyword

Search by State




Search by Region


US Fish and Wildlife Service footer