ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – On the edge of Albuquerque’s southern city limits, one of the newest high schools in the metro-area is now home to a massive new solar panel and battery storage project. Albuquerque Public Schools officially unveiled the new $3.2 million electricity project at Atrisco Heritage Academy High School Thursday, a joint project between the district, Sandia Labs, the state and federal government, and a local solar business among others.
The project is made up of 2,208 roof mounted solar panels at the high school. Those panels are expected to generate around 850 kilowatts of electricity.
Atrisco Heritage Academy is a more than half-million square foot complex across 65 acres in southwest Albuquerque, on the edge of the West Mesa. Around 2,200 kids go to school at Atrisco, which was built in 2012. District-wide, APS estimates its electric utility bill costs over $50,000 a day.
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In all, the project is expected to generate a net savings of $3.5 on the school’s electricity bill over the next 25 years. Some of the power generated by the solar panels will stored in large battery cabinets on site.
Those battery packs 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 is the equivalent of 1,000 watts used for one hour.
APS broke ground on the project in October 2021. In an initial news 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, preliminary design includes the possibility of disconnecting the school from the power grid in the future, allowing the school to function as a regional neighborhood power shelter/resiliency hub.
Sandia Labs, the U.S. Department of Energy, the state’s Department of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources, the Clean Energy States Alliance and OE solar also helped on the project.