ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque Public Schools opened up a new solar array that aims to save the district money at Atrisco Heritage Academy High School on Thursday. The new array comes after Atrisco Heritage has the highest electric bill in the entire district.

“This school has the largest utility bill in the district. And one of the largest in the state, I’m sure and half of it is demand charges in the summertime from the amount of electricity that is available to the school,” said Tony Sparks, an APS Staff Project Manager.

In 2019, the school cost the district $354,662 to keep the lights on. The goal of saving the district money became a reality Thursday. They broke ground last year, and the district flipped the switch on its $3.2 million solar project. 

The two-part project consists of a solar array on the roof of the school buildings and a mega battery pack from Tesla that will store the energy that will be collected.

“So, we can now not only charge at night inexpensive power but use the solar energy to reduce the demand during the peak times of the day,” said Sparks.

There are 2,208 solar panels collecting energy. The whole setup has a lifetime of 25 years and is expected to save the district $3.5 million in that time frame. This project also makes it possible for the school to help out the community in emergencies.

“Preliminary design includes the capability to future disconnect from the power grid. this will make this school a power shelter and resiliency hub.”

No word on whether APS has plans to do this for other schools in the district.