The new solar panels will be part of a solar-diesel microgrid that includes energy storage. Once up and running later this spring, the microgrid will reduce the village’s dependency on diesel by about 25% and save about $1 million in electricity costs over the next 20 years.
Massive stores of carbon — in the form of ancient flora and fauna — are frozen in the Arctic ground. As the ice in the permafrost melts, microbes in the soil consume that carbon and convert it into carbon dioxide and methane, two major greenhouse gases, which rise into the atmosphere.
“There’s approximately 1,000 billion metric tons of organic carbon in the top three meters of soil in the permafrost,” said Charles Miller, the lead NASA climate scientist with the Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment. “To put that in context, there’s approximately 350 billion tons of carbon that’s been released into the atmosphere from all of the human activity since the beginning of the industrial revolution. So about 3 times that amount is in those top 3 meters of permafrost.”
Records kept by the Weather Service since 1936 say three of the 10 warmest December days in Juneau’s history have come in the past week.
It was warmer Friday in Juneau than it was in Houston, Jacksonville, Florida or Monterrey, Mexico.