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Solar Array Details

The two solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays located on the front lawn of the BTU Utility Building have a total generating capacity of 2.8 kilowatts (kW). Each array is a 1.4 kW flower petal solar design which has 8 BP brand solar panels (model BP 4175B) and each one has an inverter so the electricity generated can be fed into and used in the Utility Building. All equipment is mounted on an 8” diameter steel pole which is buried six feet and set in concrete. To view photos during construction and of the completed project, Click here

The arrays are engineered to withstand wind speeds of 90 mph which is the official wind speed load for construction in our area. The PV panels are polycrystalline photovoltaic panels, which have been manufactured and used for more than 40 years. The brand of panels is BP Solar which was previously the Solarex company. Solarex began manufacturing solar panels in 1973. BP Solar is one of the very few companies that has been in business longer than the 25-year industry-standard solar panel warranty.

The arrays are identical except for one feature. The array closest to the drive-through lanes near 28th St. tracks the sun throughout the day as the Earth rotates. The tracking system is a Wattsun model AZ-125 and utilizes a dual-axis so the maximum sunlight is absorbed by the panels.

Because the electricity generated from the arrays is direct current (DC), an inverter must be used to convert this to alternating current (AC) for use in home appliances or to tie to the electric grid. The inverter is a Xantrex model 2.8-GT inverter.

To record and measure the array’s production BTU uses the Energy Detective or TED, model 5002C, energy monitoring system. The TED consists of four current transformers (CT), (two for each 240VAC circuit, one circuit for each PV pole system), and a gateway communications module to receive and store CT data and provide internet communications. This allows BTU the opportunity to gather all the data and display it in our lobby and on our website so anyone is welcome to view the actual generation and historical data to compare the output of the two arrays.

For more information on all of the equipment used in our arrays, you can view the manufacturer’s equipment specifications here.

It is our hope that the array’s will serve as a teaching and learning opportunity for the community and promote renewable energy practices. BTU is very involved in the renewable energy market from the wholesale power BTU purchases from wind turbine production near the Texas coast to the 10 MW solar farm being built in west Texas.