The Municipality of Anchorage spent hundreds of thousands of dollars installing solar panels on the roof of the Egan Center on 5th Street in downtown Anchorage.
But for weeks, they have been covered in snow, rendering them inoperable.
The panels were installed in 2019 as part of Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’ Climate Action Plan at a cost to taxpayers of approximately $200,000. The panels are expected to pay for themselves in energy cost savings in about 7.5 years and save the city 9 percent of the electricity the Egan Center uses every year.
But since at least Jan. 1 the panels have been covered in snow, and no attempt has been made to blow or rake the snow from them. Of course, that represents only five percent of the year, but winter is far from over.
According to the Energy Sage blog, it’s a common myth is that solar panels do not work during winter.
“Interestingly, the cold temperature will typically improve solar panel output. The white snow can also reflect light and help improve PV performance. Winter will only hurt solar production if the panels are covered with snow.”
Installed panels are supposed to shed the snow, as they are at an angle. But that’s clearly not working on the Egan Center Building.