Albuquerque High School Lights Solar Panel and Tesla Battery Project
ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) — Just outside Albuquerque’s southern city limits, one of the metro area’s newest high schools is now home to a massive new solar panel and battery storage project. Albuquerque Public Schools on Thursday officially unveiled the new $3.2 million power project at Atrisco Heritage Academy High School, a joint project between the district, Sandia Labs, state and federal government, and a local solar company, among others.
The project consists of 2,208 solar panels mounted on the roof of the school. These panels are expected to generate approximately 850 kilowatts of electricity.
Atrisco Heritage Academy is a more than half a million square foot complex on 65 acres in southwest Albuquerque, bordering West Mesa. About 2,200 children go to school in Atrisco, which was built in 2012. District-wide, APS estimates its electric bill is more than $50,000 a day.
In total, the project is expected to generate a net savings of $3.5 on the school’s electricity bill over the next 25 years. Part of the energy generated by the solar panels will be stored in large battery cabinets on site.
These batteries are part of Tesla’s “Megapack 2” energy storage system. The packs have the capacity to store 2884 kWh (kilowatt hours). A single kilowatt hour equals 1000 watts used for one hour.
APS launched the project in October 2021. In an initial press release, APS said the project could potentially serve as a “potential future use of the school as a regional neighborhood power shelter.” According to APS, the preliminary design includes the option of disconnecting the school from the power grid in the future, allowing the school to function as a regional neighborhood power shelter/resilience center.
Sandia Labs, the US Department of Energy, the State Department of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources, the Clean Energy States Alliance and OE solar also contributed to the project.