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.)
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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