Photovoltaic solar arrays generate excitement at Illinois headquarters of Schneider Electric
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.
Chris Curtis, CEO of Schneider Electric’s Buildings and Power North America business, said the installation is part of Schneider Electric’s commitment to help 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 CO 2 emissions reduction.
Valued at $750,000, the installation qualified for a 30% federal tax credit, an accelerated federal depreciation schedule, a state incentive of $3.25 per dc watt, and the sale of Renewable Energy Credits. The system — which uses Schneider Electric’s Xantrex Inverter to convert the solar power into energy — has an expected life of 40-years, and Schneider Electric estimates a 10-year payback.
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.”
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.