Schneider Electric has unveiled the new 1MW dual voltage solar farm at its manufacturing plant in Smyrna, Tennessee. The system is the first dual voltage solar farm in the US and will be used by Schneider Electric for test and research purposes.

Spanning six acres, Smyrna – equipped with Schneider’s solar inverters, transformers and panelboards – is the third MW-scale system to be built in Tennessee and will generate approximately 1.3 million kWh of electricity per annum. Investment totalled US$6.25 million, with this figure being supplemented by a 30% federal tax credit.

“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 president of Schneider Electric's US arm Jeff Drees. “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 farm’s dual voltage capability allows it to operate at either 600VDC or 1000VDC. When operating at 1000V, 40% fewer parallel connections are used than at 600V, thus reducing the fraction of energy lost to resistance.