Norway has recently installed ground solar panels in the Svalbard archipelago. In the process, it has created the world’s northernmost solar farm.
The Svalbard Islands are located in the Arctic Circle and experience round-the-clock darkness during the winter months.
This project is a significant milestone, as it could potentially assist remote Arctic communities in transitioning to green energy.
Positioned in rows in a field, these 360 solar panels are beginning to generate electricity for the Isfjord Radio station. The radio station now serves as a base camp for tourists.
Another 100 solar panels have been installed on the radio station’s roof to cover about half of its electricity requirements and reduce CO2 emissions.
The Svalbard region benefits from continuous daylight in the summer. Moreover, it uses the reflective power of snow and ice, known as the albedo effect, to enhance the efficiency of the solar panels.
However, since the area experiences total darkness from October to mid-February, the radio station cannot entirely rely on solar energy. It’s also exploring other energy options like wind farms.
In addition to being environmentally responsible, the Svalbard solar farm makes sense economically. Svalbard’s remoteness causes diesel to be expensive to procure and transport. Meanwhile, solar panels are low-maintenance and reliable.
Government researchers plan to use the installation as a trial project. They want to determine the viability of implementing solar farms in about 1,500 other locations in the Arctic that lack access to conventional power grids and desire to transition to renewable energy.
The intention is to make Isfjord Radio a testing site to develop Arctic-proof technology that can subsequently be implemented in similar locations.
According to Euronews, the Arctic has experienced a warming rate almost four times higher than the global average in the past four decades. This has resulted in accelerated ice melting and disruption of ecosystems.
Image Source: Euronews, https://shorturl.at/bEV19