Solar

Schneider Electric unveils solar farm in Tennessee

Schneider Electric took the wraps off of a 1MW dual voltage solar farm spanning six acres of its manufacturing plant in Smyrna, Tennessee. This is the first dual voltage solar farm in the United States with the ability to operate at both 1000VDC and 600VDC. Schneider Electric said it will use the farm for research and testing. The solar farm is the third in the state of Tennessee at 1MW and will generate approximately 1.3 million kWh of electricity annually, 25 percent of the facility’s total use. The farm represents a $6.25 million investment.

Schneider Electric took the wraps off of a 1MW dual voltage solar farm spanning six acres of its manufacturing plant in Smyrna, Tennessee. This is the first dual voltage solar farm in the United States with the ability to operate at both 1000VDC and 600VDC. Schneider Electric said it will use the farm for research and testing. The solar farm is the third in the state of Tennessee at 1MW and will generate approximately 1.3 million kWh of electricity annually, 25 percent of the facility?s total use. The farm represents a $6.25 million investment.

?The issues around reliability and availability of energy sources coupled with today?s rising energy costs are driving increased awareness for the benefits of alternative energy sources,? said Jeff Drees, U.S. Country President, Schneider Electric. ?Through this investment, we hope to serve as an example for other businesses and provide a test bed for the development and design of solutions that enhance the deployment of renewable power.?

By allowing the operational voltage to be either 600V or 1000V, the farm is can be run more efficiently. At 1000V operation, Schneider Electric uses 40 percent fewer parallel connections than for 600V operation and reduces the fraction of energy lost to resistance by transmitting electricity at a higher voltage. The installation qualified for a 30 percent federal tax credit and the TVA Generation Partners Program, which offers a premium on all solar generated power that Schneider Electric sells back to TVA. Additionally, the project includes Schneider Electric?s solar inverters, transformers, panelboards, 27kv switchgear, Juno Lighting Group LED products, and additional custom engineered and manufactured devices in the field.

Schneider Electric operates four facilities in Tennessee and employs a total of 1,250 people in the state. The Smyrna plant, which houses manufacturing for Schneider Electric?s Square D? brand medium voltage electrical distribution products, is also a Department of Energy (DOE) Southeast Energy Management Program for Superior Energy Performance Demonstration Facility. Through a partnering between DOE and the U.S. Council for Energy-Efficient Manufacturing (U.S. CEEM), Schneider Electric is conducting energy management demonstrations to help achieve ambitious industrial energy intensity reduction goals through strategic energy management. Schneider Electric is also a member of the DOE?s Save Energy Now LEADER program and a Sustaining Sponsor of the DOE?s Solar Decathlon 2011.