Camp McDowell is a camp and conference center for the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Alabama. The camp is also home to the Alabama Folk School, McDowell Environmental Center, and McDowell Farm School. Camp McDowell has planned to take the camp completely off the grid in the future. In efforts to run the farm completely on renewable energy sources, the camp started with multiple solar energy systems that power several parts of the camp.  The five solar energy systems power the Doug Carpenter Hall, Phifer Hall, St. John’s Pool House, The Welcome Center, and The Chapel. 

A cumulative 86.1-Kilowatts has been installed on the camp ground thus far. The savings realized on the monthly power bill for the five buildings will go into a reserve fund that will be used to finance future developments in energy independence at Camp McDowell. According to the camp newsletter, plans under consideration include additional solar panels, hydroelectric generation at the dam on Clear Creek, battery storage and a diesel backup generator.

System Information:

  • Total System Size: 11.8 Kilowatts
  • Panels: 40 – Seraphim, 290 Watt
  • Optimizers: 20 – SolarEdge P-600
  • Inverters: 1 – SolarEdge SE11.4K-US
  • Mounting: Snap’N’Rack Flush Mount Roof Rail System

Microgrid consists of 9.24 kW of rooftop solar, 4 Fortress E-Vault lithium batteries, Schneider charge controllers and inverters, and a 20 kW Generac back-up generator. This off-grid system provides an excellent opportunity for the UAB faculty and students to study the value of renewable distributed generation of energy.