Albuquerque Academy Makes the Grade with Repowering Project

Albuquerque SMA

In the sunny Southwest, students spending their secondary education years at the Albuquerque Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico follow a school philosophy of achieving knowledge that is actionable. This private college preparatory school offers grades 6 through 12 programs that focus on connecting to the natural world. It is in the spirit of preserving the environment and cultivating innovation that the school relies on solar power.

The school initially transitioned to solar power in 2011. That solar facility has served the Academy well, but after ten years of solid operation and with new technological advances in the solar industry, the solar facility was ready for an overhaul to upgrade its capabilities. In early 2020, the system owner commissioned a repowering project to improve the efficiency and reliability of its solar system.

The new solar project features SMA Sunny Central inverters and Schott Poly solar panels. With a total size of 1,000 kWac, the array produces approximately 2 million kilowatt-hours annually for Albuquerque Academy.

To achieve the site’s fullest potential, system owner and operator RC Energy Group, LLC of Centennial, Colorado hired SMA America. RC Energy selected SMA because of its expertise, demonstrated reliability, and proven service record.

The solution

“SMA provided a solid solution to repower the system without altering the interconnection agreement,” said Allen Wilson, project finance manager with RC Energy. “SMA worked with all parties to explain the design and to secure stakeholder buy-in. SMA’s technical solution is delivering as expected, increasing the reliability and efficiency of our system.”

The original installation used a 600VDC system with two 500-kWac central inverters commissioned in 2011. Central inverters for such projects are not readily available in the market today or, are very expensive. For the repowering project, SMA was able to reconfigure its new inverters, originally built for 1000VDC, to match the low MPP voltages of the existing system.

The results greatly benefit the campus. As a bonus, no changes in the DC wiring were required. The flexibility of the SMA inverters also allowed RC Energy to keep the existing transformer in place. By testing via a UL field evaluation, SMA demonstrated the inverter setup fulfilled the updated system parameters, ensuring the school can power forward with its commitment to the environment and innovation.



You want to know about the SMA Repowering? Click here.

Thanks to our partner Rockwell Financial Group.

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