SMA Solar Technology AG celebrates inauguration of grid-independent training center

SMA Solar Technology AG inaugurated the new training center of the SMA Solar Academy today. The innovative building will be used for training of over 15,000 seminar participants per year while the electricity is supplied via a stand-alone system and thus is independent from the power distribution grid.

The company trains installers and electrically skilled engineers as well as plant planners, architects and sales personnel at the SMA Solar Academy in terms of electricity supply from solar energy and the inverters from SMA. The training is available free of charge and is individually tailored to meet the requirements of any target group. Up to 15,000 people participate every year. The new training center was established in order to cope with this large number of people. Four training rooms equipped with latest technology can accommodate up to 120 participants while the facility can also be used for larger events.

The new building of the SMA Solar Academy is equipped with a special power supply system where different power sources are intelligently combined with system technology from SMA. The training center is supplied with electricity by photovoltaic power plants on the roof and in the facade. The solar modules integrated into the facade are an outstanding example for building integrated photovoltaics. Nine photovoltaic tracking systems nearby that normally feed their power to the power distribution grid can be electrically integrated into the stand-alone grid in order to support the power supply when necessary.

A combined heat and power plant (CHP) with variable speed, powered with biogas, produces heat as well as it produces CO2-neutral electricity that can be used when the PV plants do not supply enough power. Surplus power from this system as well as surplus power from the PV plants is stored in high capacity batteries. These batteries can supply the entire building with electricity over a period of five hours even under full training operation. The batteries are connected to twelve Sunny Island inverters from SMA that control the entire stand-alone grid of the training center.

The energy concept is additionally made visible to the visitors: the high-tech system technology is behind a glass wall where the public can see the different devices as well as the accompanying battery room. The illumination indicates the state of charge of the batteries: green stands for a high charge level - red for a low charge level. The energy supply control room with the CHP is made visible as well. An interactive computer display gives information on the energy concept and the function of the different elements within the system.

The building with the futuristic design is placed on stilts with respect to the fact that it is located in a flood risk area of the Fulda river. The facade has optimum insulation in order to keep the energy consumption as low as possible. The building is cooled with ground water from a 40 meter deep well while pumps direct the fluid to the heat exchangers of the ventilation system.

"The new training center of the SMA Solar Academy is a very good example for grid independent energy supply based on renewable energies and with system technology from SMA", says Günther Cramer, CEO of SMA Solar Technology AG. "The technology used here is also perfectly suitable for remote areas without access to any power distribution grid. It is an ideal solution for developing or emerging countries where over 2 billion people still have no access to a reliable electricity source."

About SMA
With a turnover of 934 million euros in 2009, the SMA Group is the global leader in the market for solar inverters, which are a central component of every solar power plant. The SMA Group is headquartered in Niestetal, near Kassel in Germany. It is represented by 13 international subsidiaries on four continents. The group employs more than 5,500 people (including temporary employees). SMA produces a broad range of inverter types, the suitable inverter for every type of photovoltaic module, and offers inverters for photovoltaic plants of all sizes. The product portfolio includes inverters both for grid-connected photovoltaic systems and for stand-alone systems. Since 2008, the parent company SMA Solar Technology AG has been listed in the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (S92) and in the TecDAX. In the past years, SMA was recognized several times with awards for its outstanding performance as an employer.

SMA Solar Technology AG
Sonnenallee 1
34266 Niestetal

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