Archives from Months December, 2012

Solar Backup System Powers through Hurricane Sandy with Sunny Centrals

Midtown Community School located in Bayonne, NJ

When Hurricane Sandy struck the town of Bayonne, New Jersey, on October 29, power from the entire grid was lost in an instant. The power even went out at Midtown Community School, a functioning public elementary school that also served as one of the town’s emergency evacuation centers. 

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Happy Holidays and a Sunny New Year from the team at SMA America

You better watch out, you better not cry… you better not pout, I’m telling you why… Santa Claus is coming to town!

Enjoy the 2012 SMA video game and help Santa deliver all of his Sunny Boys. Look out for the clouds and trees – they stop Santa from completing his mission.

Happy Holidays and a Sunny New Year!

The SMA America Team

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Top 5 Solar Stories: The Good, the Bad and Everything in Between

large PV plant

Aerial views of London 2012 Olympic Venues

This past year was full of ups, downs and major changes for the solar industry. We all learned a lot, and while the industry experienced some turmoil, solar’s popularity among consumers continues to be strong. According to a SEIA study, 9 out of 10 Americans think it’s important for the U.S. to develop solar power.

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Solar Tracker Farm in North America Operates with Unique, Decentralized Design

Photo Credit: AllEarth Renewables

At the time of commissioning, the South Burlington Solar Farm located in South Burlington, Vermont, was the largest decentralized solar tracker farm located in North America. AllEarth Renewables, the tracker manufacturer and EPC contractor, wanted to design a solar farm that maximized reliability and production. This unique 2.13 MW solar farm operates using a decentralized design, and utilizes state-of-the-art wireless communications technology to provide power to Vermont’s feed-in-tariff program. 

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Going Green Hollywood Style

Hollywood Sign located in Los Angeles, California

Most of us are used to seeing daily headlines revealing the latest triumphs and trials of Hollywood’s A-listers. While much of what we see may focus on fashion and heartbreak, some celebs are putting their high-profile publicity to good use by promoting their own efforts to live sustainably.

A bit of research shows that dozens of actors, actresses and musicians are doing their part to keep the planet clean in a variety of ways, from using solar power to composting to wearing recycled clothing.

The late Larry Hagman, the former TV star of “Dallas”, was a well known solar advocate.

Here are a few of our favorite go-green celebrity efforts:

Solar Support: Larry Hagman

We would be remiss not to mention the late Larry Hagman, one of the industry’s earliest and most visible advocates. He lived on a ranch powered by solar and was involved in various philanthropic solar projects worldwide. Hagman reportedly paid just $13 in energy costs per year once he installed solar on his California ranch.

Jack Johnson is a singer-songwriter, surfer and renewable energy advocate.


Charitable Sustainability: Jack Johnson

Not only does Jack Johnson own a Los Angeles recording studio that runs entirely on solar, but he established the Kokua Hawaii Foundation in his native state to educate children about renewable energy and sustainable living. Passing knowledge to a new generation is a great way to increase the use of solar in the future.

Julia Roberts, a famous American actress, has taken advantage of the sunny California climate by adding solar to her Malibu home.

Bringing Solar Home: Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts’ efforts to go green reportedly date back to the 1970s when she first learned about solar energy. Today Roberts lives in a Malibu mansion with $20 million in eco-friendly upgrades including a solar system, energy efficient appliances and recycled tile. Her goal is to pave the way for increased solar use through example.

An American actor and self-proclaimed “green living expert”, Woody Harrelson lives in a completely sustainable community.

Controversially Committed: Woody Harrelson

We hear that Woody Harrelson lives completely off-grid in Hawaii in a home that is part of a community powered 100% by solar energy. Interestingly he also eats a raw vegan diet and is known as an avid and “colorful” environmental advocate within the Hollywood circle. Though sometimes controversial, Harrelson is deeply committed to living a green lifestyle.


Other solar advocates among the Hollywood elite include Robert Redford, Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio, to name a few. While many of us may not have Hollywood fame and fortune, we can certainly applaud some of those who do and are putting it to good use.  Who is your favorite green celebrity?

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Decentralized Commercial Systems Getting Day in the Sun

Photo Credit: Sullivan Solar Power

Decentralized commercial systems have been the preferred design concept in Europe and other international locations for a number of years. SMA is proud to bring this best practice to North America, where integrators can take advantage of our unique experience, world-class technology and unrivaled support. For PV plants ranging from 50 kW to 1 MW, this decentralized model using string inverters simplifies installation, increases energy production and lowers long-term costs, adding profit to the bottom line. 

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A Land Speed World Record: Relive the Electrifying Attempt

Ever wondered what it looks and sounds like when an electric motorcycle traveling at 189 mph zooms by?

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Sunny Design: Polystring Configuration

Sunny Design
What happens if I have an east-facing PV array and a west-facing PV array connected to the same string inverter with one MPP tracker?

This is a fairly common question that SMA Technical Support receives from customers and installers. There is only one answer that is correct 100% of the time: Do the design!

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