Alaska Public Media discusses how Alaska’s largest rural solar project nears completion above the Arctic Circle in Kotzebue.
Since construction of Kotzebue Electric Association’s solar project began in May, a locally hired crew has clocked in ten-hour days, six days a week. They’ve hauled 1,440 solar panels across uneven tundra and installed the final one on June 18. The 576-kilowatt project is the second largest in the state, next to the Willow Solar Farm in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.
The construction site is southeast of the local airport, at the end of a long, gravelly access road. The rows of panels bring new fixtures to a rolling landscape marked by an aging wind farm that began KEA’s run with renewable energy in the late 90s.