Alaska Building Gets Solar Wall For Power Instead Of Roof

We hear a lot about big solar installations in California and Arizona. But Alaska?  Whirlwind Solar recently announced that they’ve completed the installation of a “Solar Wall” in Fairbanks, AK, using building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) solar panels and innovative thermal insulation techniques designed to reduce energy consumption.

The photovoltaic laminates used in this 5.44 kW solar array can be found on the south-facing wall of the Fairbanks School District’s Facility, integrated into the Whirlwind Weather Snap metal system. (Whirlwind Solar is actually a division of Whirlwind Steel Buildings of Houston, Texas, which explains why they have a proprietary system such as this.)


image via Whirlwind

Normally, another 3 to 6 lbs. per square foot would have be added to the structure of a building if traditional, heavy crystalline solar panels were used–which would also require multiple penetrations that could lead to water leaks and air infiltration in the metal building. By using lightweight solar laminate materials that utilize a penetration-free system, extra weight and energy leaks were avoided in the project.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

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