Schneider Electric fires up 60 kW PV array on cold winter day

Schneider Electric launched its 60 kW dc photovoltaic (PV) array on Dec. 10, 2009, at its Palatine, Ill., headquarters building.





Schneider Electric launched its 60 kW dc photovoltaic (PV) array on Dec. 10, 2009, at its Palatine, Ill., headquarters building. The outdoor air temperature was 5 F and winds were blowing at 10 mph. Skies were blue, however, and the panel was generating about 40 kW dc of power. Overall, the array will reduce electric usage at Schneider's North America headquarters facility by an estimated 2% to 3% annually, company officials said as they powered up the installation.


The array is a configuration of 29 “sunflowers”; a single sunflower has eight PV panels mounted on a pole. Schneider's installation is the largest of its kind in Illinois. The 60 kW dc array provides about 50 kW ac power due to line and inverter losses.


While the project would cost others about $750,000, Schneider Electric's cost was about $550,000 (with a company discount on switchgear, inverter, and related equipment). With local and federal incentives, payback is estimated at 10 years. There were no utility rebates offered by local electric utility Commonwealth Edison.




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