The Four Points Sheraton Tucson Airport project by Technicians For Sustainability (TFS) is comprised of a 170.52 kW ground mounted array over an old tennis court area, and 200.94 kW of custom-built solar parking shade canopies feeding two electrical services.
TFS, an employee-owned cooperative headquartered in Tucson, designed and constructed the nearly 372 kW project using two SMA Sunny Tripower CORE1 inverters and eight SMA Sunny Tripower 30000TL-US inverters, along with 854 SunPower 435-watt modules.
The goal with this project is to decrease operating expenses for the hotel and hedge against future electric rate increases. Additionally, the PV system will increase property value, provide environmental and financial returns, and provide shaded parking for customers- a practical benefit in the Arizona climate.
Danielle Fidel, a co-owner and Director of Commercial Solar for TFS, explained that with some creativity, the team was able to figure out how best to incorporate the CORE1 into the system design. With its integrated disconnect, and without the need for an external combiner, the CORE1 provided a clean solution for a solar parking shade structure.
“We welded custom shelves for the CORE1 inverters to sit nicely at the top of our parking structure’s iBeam posts and figured out how to best conceal the wiring for aesthetics yet ease of future access,” Fidel said.
Since construction for the system took place in a high traffic site, TFS had to take extra care to minimize impact to the hotel customers. The installation was completed in December 2017 and has performed better than expected in its first few months of operation, helping to offset 80 to 85 percent of the site’s electrical usage.
“We believe strongly in partnering with the best module and inverter manufacturers for our projects and customers,” Fidel said. “SMA has long been our go-to inverter manufacturer, and this site was our first opportunity to use the new CORE1 50 kW inverter. We love its compact design and look forward to using it at future job sites.”
Technicians for Sustainability has more than 50 full-time employees and has installed approximately 25 MW of solar on both residential and commercial properties across Southern Arizona.
Jessica Dumont is a public relations specialist for SMA America. She is focused on news, industry trends and what's happening at SMA.