Solarize Comes to the Northern Valley

The Alaska Center has selected the Talkeetna area to participate in this year’s Solarize program. Solarize is a community-driven nation-wide program with a mission to make solar more accessible and affordable with neighborhood economies of scale. The program is open to all Mat-Su residents, extending from Palmer to Trapper Creek.

The Alaska Center handles the bid process and selects installers that can provide the best options for the lowest cost to residents. Most residents offset some or most of their electricity using solar to lower their overall costs. Rachel Christensen, Clean Energy Organizer for the Alaska Center, explains some of the benefits of joining the program.

“We Solarize as a community so that not only are you doing it, but also your neighbors are doing it so there is that extra sense of community. You can lean on other people for advice on things, but also lean on us for any help that you might need.”

After a fall 2022 workshop, the organizers recognized and adapted the program for the northern Valley’s unique needs. Many Talkeetna and Trapper Creek residents are off-grid, but most participants are on-grid. Solarize is exploring the option to provide solar for off-grid homes. Christensen explains more about the possibilities.

“Some of the installers that we’re working with this year have shown interest in providing off-grid options. So we’re going to have those conversations with the installers in the coming couple weeks. They have shown interest so we’re not saying that it cannot happen, we’re just not sure what it’s going to look like yet.”

Christensen explains that the range in size of solar setups makes it difficult to give an average cost. But for a larger system, the cost may range from $10,000 to $20,000 with a ten-year payoff time frame. Solar panels often last more than 20 years, but can lose efficiency over time.

The Solarize program is in the process of selecting installers for this season and there is still time for residents to sign up through the Alaska Center.

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