SMA America’s Solar Academy is a state-of-the-art educational facility designed to support current and prospective solar industry professionals. Located at SMA America’s corporate headquarters in Rocklin, California, the Solar Academy is outfitted with advanced teaching tools and demonstration inverters to complement its comprehensive range of courses on photovoltaics and SMA products.
The SMA Solar Academy boasts a 2,178-square-foot classroom equipped with a high-tech lectern featuring SMART Podium™ technology, two custom 156-inch screens and dual high-definition projectors.
The Solar Academy classroom is a hands-on learning environment. Two of the Solar Academy walls showcase functional SMA hardware that provides attendees with practical experience to reinforce class concepts. One wall features grid tied PV inverters: a Sunny Boy 5000TL-US with Secure Power Supply (SPS), Sunny Boy 7000-US, Sunny Tripower 12000TL-US and Sunny Boy 10000TL-US with Combiner Box, and communications and monitoring systems: Sunny SensorBox, Sunny WebBox, and a Sunny WebBox with Bluetooth®.
The Sunny Boy 7000-US inverter is connected to a DC power supply to simulate a PV array while a Variac simulates grid behavior, allowing a wide range of operational and fault situations to be demonstrated in a controlled and safe manner.
The Sunny Boy 5000TL-US with SPS is powered by an Ametek Solar Array Simulator that allows custom I-V curve behavior to be delivered to the inverter’s DC input. This laboratory grade equipment allows easy simulation of the complex impact of partial shade on an I-V curve, and real-time demonstration of the advanced OptiTrac Global Peak algorithm in the Sunny Boy ensuring that the inverter always operates at the global maximum power point. This power supply and inverter configuration also allows thorough demonstration of the SPS providing power to a dedicated outlet, even when the grid is not present.
The second inverter wall of the Solar Academy features a Sunny Island lab, including a Sunny Island 6048-US battery inverter, an SMA Smartformer, and a Sunny Boy 5000-US inverter. This setup clearly demonstrates the energy security that a Sunny Island grid-tied battery backup system including PV can provide.
All of these inverters are wall-mounted using rear knockouts on the DC disconnect for a clean installation. The wiring is then run inside a metallic raceway on the opposite side of the wall.
Additional Sunny Boy 5000TL-US demonstration inverters are mounted on two rolling walls which allow participants to experience a full inverter installation: input DC and output AC wiring, Webconnect module installation and Ethernet communications wiring, and installation of Secure Power Supply outlet and switch.