The manufacturer hopes to learn more about how the turbine’s 9.5MW gearbox and bearings will react over the course of a 20-year-plus life-cycle at the university in South Carolina.
The 9.5MW turbine — currently the most powerful in the world — has so far only been selected as the preferred turbine for Innogy’s 860MW Triton Knoll site off the east coast of the UK.
But MHI Vestas believes the V164 is the machine "most likely to be used for the first round of major offshore wind projects in the United States".
The $35 million deal to use the university’s testing facilities is MHI Vestas’ first major investment in the US.
The US currently has just one offshore wind farm — Deepwater Wind’s five-turbine, 30MW Block Island off the coast of Rhode Island in the north east of the country.
But other projects are being built with sites in New York, North Carolina, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey.
Jakob Soebye, the company’s senior director of technology, said: "The testing and verification of the gearbox and bearings will allow us to optimise the performance and reliability of the wind turbine."
Clemson University’s 7,600-square-metre facility was funded by a $45 million grant from the US Energy Department and $53 million of public and private contributions.
Its Energy Innovation Centre was created to study next-generation wind turbine drivetrain technology as well as grid integration.
The test facility is capable of trialling drivetrains on two test rigs: one for up to 7.5MW and the other for up to 15MW.
Clemson University's Robert Jones said: "The work that will be done as result of this partnership also will further Clemson’s efforts to establish the university as a leader in technologies related to the production of alternative energy sources, and hopefully will lead to further research and economic engagement opportunities for Clemson."