The old solar power facility provided about 12KW of power, with about 7,500 amp-hours of battery storage for night time power needs. The building to the left was constructed to house the new batteries and related equipment for the new system.
Construction office arrives.
Tool/equipment and shop facilities arrive on site.
The site for the photovoltaic panel arrays is prepared, and the layout for each part of the array components and underground wiring is underway.
All the underground conduit for the electrical connections needs to go in before installation of the solar panels.
The connection points for the the battery storage building are prepared.
The steel support piers for the solar panels arrive.
The support pier pile driver arrives.
There is a lot of equipment on site for installation of the solar panel arrays.
Driving the support piers for the solar panel arrays. Each one has to be placed very precisely.
These black plastic split-bushings are the "bearings" on which the panel arrays will rotate on their support piers.
Support piers are in and the panel support tubes installed on top of them.
The tracking motor is installed. This motor will rotate all the panels to track the sun daily via a series of drive shafts connected across the arrays.
Storage batteries are in and wired up. There is 27,000 amp-hours of battery storage to supply our power at night. The batteries are sealed units requiring no maintenance.
These are the SMA "Sunny Boy" inverters that convert the solar panels input from 480VDC (!) to 220VAC, for use by the rest of the system.
The Sunny Boy inverters being set up.
Guts of a SMA Sunny Boy inverter.
The DC battery disconnect panel.
Battery room transformers.
Solar panels are installed on the tracking system and wired up.
One of two Solar Magic "Shark" meters that monitor our system. There are two because we are running two separate circuits to the facility, where we attempt to divide the loads in a balanced manner. Data from these meters and other components are collected and sent via internet for system monitoring and study.
These are the SMA "Sunny Island" inverters, which control the final power output to the facility, decide whether we are on solar or battery power, and control the start up of the backup generator when required.
These transformers step up the voltage from the Sunny Island inverters from 220VAC to 600VAC, which we use to distribute power via underground cables to our different power load areas for the Desert Studies Center. It is stepped back down to 220VAC via other transformers at our load transfer center. This is a more efficient way to distribute the power over long distances.
The solar power facility is connected to one of our two 40KW generators as a backup power source, should we not have sufficient battery power to get through a night, or from a lack of solar power over time. It is designed to come on automatically if those conditions exist. If this generator fails for some reason, we can manually engage the second generator to power the facility.
This station collects weather data, and contains the GPS unit that controls the tracking system. It can also rotate the panels to a flat horizontal position if winds exceed 60mph for more than a few minutes, putting them in a better position to resist wind loading and possible damage.
The completed system, with the old one now removed.