In a state known more for country music, an electric company is leading the way in the use of solar power to fuel energy efficiency.
This summer, Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management launched the first major solar farm in Middle Tennessee. The farm is six acres and boasts 3,500 solar panels, which will capture enough solar energy to power about 100 homes a year.
Located at the company’s manufacturing plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville, it is the first dual-voltage solar farm in the United States with the ability to operate at both 1000VDC and 600VDC.
At 1000V operation, Schneider Electric uses 40 percent fewer parallel connections than for 600V operation. It also reduces the fraction of energy lost to resistance by transmitting electricity at a higher voltage.
The company, which employs more than 100,000 people worldwide, invested $6.25 million in the solar farm and officials expect it to generate 1.3 million KWh annually – about 25 percent of the manufacturing plant’s total energy use.
“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. “Renewable energy sources, particularly solar energy, are a key driver in addressing today’s energy challenge. 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.”
The installation qualified for a 30 percent United States federal tax credit and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Generation Partners Program, which offers a premium on all solar generated power that Schneider Electric sells back to TVA. The solar farm took 15 months to engineer and construct and opened in late July.Log in to post comments