Willow Solar Farm expands to 1.2 megawatts
The Alaska Energy Authority said Nov. 15 that the Willow Solar Farm Expansion project, financed through AEA’s Power Project Fund loan program, is expected to come online in December.
AEA said the utility-scale photovoltaic facility nearly doubles the size of any current solar installation in Alaska.
“AEA is pleased to invest in the expansion of the Willow Solar Farm,” said AEA Executive Director Curtis W. Thayer. “The project helps diversify Alaska’s energy profile, and serves as an important demonstration of the viability of affordable, utility-scale solar PV in Alaska.”
AEA loaned co-borrowers AK Renewable Energy Partners LLC and Renewable Independent Power Producers LLC $814,234 of a total project cost of $1,524,816, with the remaining funding by private capital.
AEA said the purpose of its loan was to increase renewable energy production in Southcentral Alaska by expanding the existing 100 kilowatt Willow demonstration project. AEA said on its website that it has previously awarded three renewable energy fund grants for solar energy projects - to Golden Valley Electric Association, Alaska Village Electric Cooperative and Alaska Power and Telephone.
Renewable IPPRenewable Independent Power Producers said on their website (www.renewableipp.com/) that the team’s first solar farm project, which came online is 2018, consists of 408 panels laid out in two football field long arrays. When it came online, the company said, it was the largest solar farm in the state, producing enough power for 25-30 homes year round and offsetting 200,000 pounds of CO2 per year.
The 1.2 megawatt Willow Solar Farm Expansion consists of 3,240 solar panels and offsets 2 million pounds of CO2 annually, Renewable IPP said, and is currently Alaska’s largest solar farm.
AEA said once the expansion is fully operational it will generate power to sell back to Matanuska Electric Association.
- KRISTEN NELSON