Sandia Labs, DOE studying this big solar + storage project at Atrisco Heritage Academy in New Mexico


Atrisco Heritage Academy High School now has the largest solar installation amongst all Albuquerque Public Schools and the most extensive battery system in the state. Clean energy systems include 2,208 Tier-1 panels with a DC capacity of 850 kW and a Tesla Megapack 2 with a peak shaving capacity of 2,887 KWh.  

Through OE Solar‘s clean energy installation, the district will save money over its 25 year lifespan by reducing energy costs by 3.5 million dollars. The system can provide backup power to the school in the event of a power outage. Project sponsors include Albuquerque Public Schools, OE Solar, the Department of Energy Office of Electricity, Sandia National Laboratories, and the New Mexico Department of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.  

“This project is another step in our long-term commitment to environmental responsibility. APS is proud to be at the forefront of solar power and energy storage deployment in the public school sector,” said Karen Alarid, APS Executive Director of Capital.

The Atrisco School project is jointly supported by a $300,000 cost-share from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Electricity (DOE-OE) and a grant from New MEXICO EMNRD. Sandia National Laboratories is providing technical support for the project and will collect operational data to inform DOE’s national research as part of the DOE-OE Stationary Energy Storage Program under the direction of Dr. Imre Gyuk. Through its contract with Sandia National Laboratories, the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) is playing a coordinating role in project development, reporting, and documentation. OE Solar is the PV expert installing both the solar array and energy storage technology.

Dr. Imre Gyuk, Director of Energy Storage Research, DOE Office of Electricity, noted “This is advanced energy technology for the benefit of the public, saving energy and reducing costs. The project will serve as an example for other schools in New Mexico and throughout the U.S.”

“This project will allow Sandia National Laboratories to investigate how real world electrical energy storage can reduce day-to-day energy costs,” said Dan Borneo the Sandia Projects Lead.

Atrisco Heritage High School serves 2,200 students within the Albuquerque Public School District, of which 14% of students come from disadvantaged households. The school is recognizing a decrease in high school enrollment, making energy demand charges crucial. With the advanced PV technology, the school will lower peak demand costs and could potentially be used as a shelter during power outages and environmental crises for the surrounding communities.

“Albuquerque Public Schools is pleased to partner with the Department of Energy, Sandia National Laboratories, and the State of New Mexico to create a ground-breaking project that paves the way to a responsible, cost-effective and sustainable future for our students and community.” said Dr. David Peercy, President, APS Board of Education.

“Energy storage is a critical component in reaching our state’s ambitious clean electricity goals,” said Louise Martinez, EMNRD Energy Conservation and Management Division Director. “Pairing energy storage and solar power will help APS reduce electricity costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity use. We are excited to support this project that demonstrates the value of using energy storage and solar for grid security to others across New Mexico.”

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