SMA America Opens State-of-the-Art Educational Facility

New Solar Academy Supports Solar Professionals of All Skill Levels

ROCKLIN, Calif., Feb. 16, 2011—SMA America has enhanced its SMA Solar Academy educational initiative with a new state-of-the-art facility that supports current and prospective solar industry professionals. Located at SMA America’s corporate headquarters in Rocklin, the SMA Solar Academy is outfitted with the latest high-tech teaching tools and demonstration inverters to complement its comprehensive range of courses on photovoltaics and SMA products. The new Solar Academy hosted its first seminar last month.

“SMA is proud to offer an arena where solar professionals of all skill levels can learn from our expert technical trainers, as well as each other,” said Jurgen Krehnke, president and general manager of SMA America. “The SMA Solar Academy demonstrates our ongoing commitment to helping solar installers improve their knowledge and skills, resulting in higher-quality projects and, ultimately, a more satisfied end user.”

The SMA Solar Academy boasts a 2,178-square-foot classroom with seating for 50 attendees. Its high-tech lectern features SMART Podium™ technology, which allows technical trainers to electronically write notes over presentations or lecture materials; highlight key concepts; access websites or multimedia files; and easily save notes to distribute after the course. All of this is displayed on two custom, 156-inch screens via dual high-definition projectors. Wall space next to each screen is coated with whiteboard paint, creating a large, high-performance dry-erase surface.

The Solar Academy classroom is a hands-on learning environment. It features demonstration inverters—including a 42kW Sunny Tower-US, Sunny Tripower 10000TL, Sunny Boy 3000HF-US, Sunny Boy 7000-US and Sunny Boy 10000TL-US (with Combiner Box)—that provide attendees with practical experience to reinforce class concepts. The Sunny Boy 7000-US is connected to a DC power supply to simulate a PV array while a Variac simulates grid behavior. All of these inverters are wall-mounted using rear knockouts on the DC disconnects for a clean installation. The wiring is then run inside a metallic raceway on the opposite side of the wall.

Additional features of the classroom include 12 speakers and six microphones (all overhead), as well as two PTZ (Pan/Tilt/Zoom) HD cameras. Communications and monitoring systems—including a Sunny SensorBox, Sunny Beam with Bluetooth, Sunny WebBox, Sunny WebBox with Bluetooth, and Flashview software—will be installed by the end of this month.

Solar Academy curriculum consists of a broad range of seminars and webinars covering grid-tied and off-grid products, commercial and utility systems, communication devices, sales and marketing, code compliance and installation best practices, most of which qualify for NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners) continuing education credit. Each course is designed to meet the demands of increasingly complex industry requirements and provide a level of technical detail sufficient for both beginners and experienced professionals.

The Solar Academy conducts seminars and webinars at its new facility in Rocklin, as well as training events throughout the U.S. and Canada. Prospective attendees can view and register for upcoming sessions on the SMA America Web site.

Solar Academy Courses:

Grid Interactive Classes

  • Introduction to PV
  • Sunny Boy 1
  • Sunny Boy 2
  • Sunny Central 1
  • Sunny Central 2
  • Sunny Boy TL*

Off-Grid/Battery Back-Up Classes

  • Sunny Island 1
  • Sunny Island 2

Communications Classes

  • Communications
  • WebBox
  • Revenue Grade Metering

Product Overview

  • Introduction to SMA Products

Non-Technical Classes

  • Sales and Marketing*

*Not registered for NABCEP continuing-education credits.

About SMA
The SMA Group generated sales of EUR 934 million in 2009 and is the worldwide market leader for photovoltaic inverters, a key component of all solar power plants. It is headquartered in Niestetal, near Kassel, Germany, and is represented on four continents by 15 foreign subsidiaries. The Group employs a staff of over 5,000 (incl. temporary workers). SMA’s product portfolio includes the most comprehensive range of inverters on the market, offering a compatible inverter for every type of photovoltaic module and for all plant sizes. The product range covers both inverters for photovoltaic plants connected to the grid as well as inverters for off-grid systems. Since 2008, the Group’s parent company SMA Solar Technology AG has been listed on the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (S92) and also in the TecDAX index. In recent years, SMA has received numerous awards for its excellence as an employer.