Decentralized Commercial Systems Getting Day in the Sun

Decentralized commercial systems have been the preferred design concept in Europe and other international locations for a number of years. SMA is proud to bring this best practice to North America, where integrators can take advantage of our unique experience, world-class technology and unrivaled support. For PV plants ranging from 50 kW to 1 MW, this decentralized model using string inverters simplifies installation, increases energy production and lowers long-term costs, adding profit to the bottom line. 

SDSU Aquaplex, Photo Credit: Sullivan Solar Power

Real-world examples at Southern California colleges

Southern California’s Sullivan Solar Power has been an early adopter of decentralized commercial PV. One example is San Diego State University’s Mission Bay Aquatic Center. Commissioned in 2008, this 48kW roof-mounted system features six SMA Sunny Boy 6000-US inverters and 276 Sharp modules. The system was designed to offset 100 percent of the energy consumed by the Mission Bay Aquatic Center, and was the first net-zero commercial building in San Diego.

Sunny Towers power swimming facility

The university is also home to a 124 kW decentralized commercial system at the Aztec Aquaplex. This three-phase solar array was the largest photovoltaic system on the San Diego State campus at the time of its commissioning, in December 2009. This ground-mounted system features 840 Sharp modules and three SMA Sunny Towers, each configured with six Sunny Boy 7000-US inverters.

Vertical array at Career Technology Center

San Diego Community College, Photo Credit: Sullivan Solar Power

Another decentralized example, this time at a different area college, is the Career Technology Center at San Diego City College. The San Diego Community College District designed this facility to achieve LEED Gold certification. The 50.13 kW system features roof and vertical arrays powered by 376 Sharp modules and nine SMA Sunny Boy 6000-US inverters. At the time of commissioning in May 2010, this system was considered the largest vertical array of its type in the United States.

Read more about decentralized commercial systems

Interested in learning more about the decentralized commercial approach to PV? Click here to download our brochure.

Solar Spotlight aims to highlight SMA inverters in real-world situations. Email us with information about your SMA-powered PV projects at


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