SMA Charges Up the Austin City Limits Crowd

The 2012 Austin City Limits Music Festival lineup included some serious heavy hitters — Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Black Keys, and SMA inverters!

Sister companies and Sunny PRO Club members Solar Community and ONTILITY provided an off-grid photovoltaic solar system for this year’s music festival, which took place over three days at Zilker Park in Austin, Texas.

Solar charging station provided enough outlets to charge 50 phones at a time.

The PV system served as a shade structure and a charging station for concertgoers’ cell phones and cameras, and also provided power for an information center and other site enhancements during the festival. SMA powered the system in the form of a Sunny Boy 6000-US, Sunny Island 5048-US and a Smartformer.  The system also featured 24 Canadian Solar modules, a Schletter Inc. shade structure, and 12 Deka batteries.

“The reception we received was amazing,” said Brandon Mathis, ONTILITY vice president of design, engineering and delivery. “Folks were very impressed with the setup and appreciative of the ability to charge up and stay connected. We only had enough outlets to charge about 50 phones at a time and we could have used another 50!”

Mathis was impressed not only by the reception at the festival, but also by the Sunny Island.

“You guys have a heck of a machine going on,” he said. “I have worked with off-grid products before, so I have some knowledge built up. That being said, I was able to wire the system up and program it without using the manual at all.”

Ontility and Solar Community have already been asked back for the 2013 music festival.

“We are planning on returning next year with a bigger system that will allow us to provide power to a larger part of the festival, and of course charge more devices,” Mathis said.

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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