Schneider Electric powers up photovoltaic solar array project at Palatine headquarters
See 5 solar project implementation tips based on an installation that's part of Schneider Electric's commitment to new technologies and environmental responsibility. It has rated output of 60.5 kW, and 232 modules mounted on 29 unique "flower" pole arrays. See photos, diagrams.
5 implementation tips: Photovoltaic solar array advice from the project manager
VincentThroop, senior application engineer, North American Operating Division,Schneider Electric, served as project manager for the installation. Hegave some friendly advice during the first hour of power:
1. Contactplanning and zoning and local electric utility representatives first.Turns out this was the first such project in the area, so everyone wasbreaking new ground.
Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management, announced the unveiling of the largest corporate solar array installation in Illinois history. The array will reduce electric usage at its North America headquarters facility by an estimated 2%-3% annually, company officials said, as they powered up the installation on a below-freezing Dec. 10.
James Schwantz, mayor of Palatine, IL, and other local government officials and dignitaries attended the renewable project launch, among others.
Chris Curtis, CEO of Schneider Electric's Buildings and Power North America business, said the installation "showcases how the use of energy efficient and renewable solutions together play key roles in solving our energy dilemma. We hope to serve as an inspiration and resource for other businesses as the demand for sustainable energy continues to grow."
Curtis said the installation is part of Schneider Electric's commitment to help make people make the most of their energy. The photovoltaic (PV) solar project includes a special "flower" type mounting system, consisting of 232 modules with 29 pole supports, solar panels, Schneider Electric Xantrex inverter, Schneider Electric metering and monitoring equipment, and all the electric wiring needed to harness the power. The PV system has a rated output of 60.5 kW which will vary according to sun angle, time of year, and weather conditions, and is designed to withstand high winds and snow.
An educational "Green display" using Schneider Electric's PowerLogic monitoring and metering systems is part of the installation. This display is located inside the facility and educates users and visitors by displaying real time information about current energy generated, usage, and the amount of CO2 emissions reduction.
Payback: 10 years
Valued at $750,000, the installation qualified for a 30 percent federal tax credit, an accelerated federal depreciation schedule (MACRS), a state incentive of $3.25 per dc watt, and the sale of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). The system - which uses Schneider Electric's Xantrex Inverter to convert the solar power into energy - has an expected life of 40-years.
The installation will "build on our history of working with large scale PV systems," said Curtis. "Our goal is to demonstrate to Schneider Electric customers our ability to safely control, meter, and transform dc power using the inverter produced by our Renewable Energies division and PMO metering division."
Amendments to zoning
During the six months of construction, Schneider Electric worked with the Village of Palatine to amend the zoning and permitting process to include solar projects. The Palatine building was identified as the best site within the company to install the system based on the rebates and incentives available in the region. The installation precedes the facility's LEED certification, which is being actively pursued for 2010.
Schneider Electric is proud to be in a position to consult and partner with companies seeking clear plans to manage energy, increase energy efficiency, and meet demands for renewable energy.
Key project points
While the project would cost others about $750,000, Schneider Electric's cost was about $550,000 (with company discount on switchgear, inverter, and related equipment). With local and federal incentives, payback is estimated at 10 years.
Panels, with a 25 year warranty, are expected to last about 40 years. Total output is 60.5 kW dc or 50.1 kW ac, depending on angle and strength of sunlight.
The inverter converts power from dc to ac and ensure optimal use. No electricity is expected to flow beyond the building, as it will provide, at most 3% of the all-electric facility's needs; Commonwealth Edison representatives were on hand to help ensure safe startup. Inverter photo was taken during construction.
Interactive touchscreen in the Schneider Electric cafeteria shows the carbon offset the project provides cumulative tally of environmental benefits, as this sample screen shows. Annual carbon offset is estimated at 89,166 lb.
Also read from MBT: SAP walks the talk on solar panels .
More photos, added Dec. 11, follow, below.
- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, online products editor, Manufacturing Business Technology , MBT www.mbtmag.com