PNNL report on DC-powered lighting and microgrids

Researchers Gabe Arnold and Grace Pennell from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory recently released a white paper titled DC Lighting and Building Microgrids: Opportunities and Recommendations.

They conduct an excellent review of the advantages of DC-power (which closely mirrors my own views, which you can find here) along with some practical reasons why adoption has been slow. Concise and well-written, make sure to check it out!

Here’s the abstract:

Direct current (DC) electricity has the potential to improve the resiliency, reliability, and energy efficiency of building systems. DC facilitates the ability to more easily and directly connect renewable resources such as solar photovoltaics (PV) and energy storage batteries to DC building loads such as light-emitting diode (LED) lighting, computers and electronics, electric vehicle chargers, and variable-speed heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment. The improved efficiency of the combined technologies can result in an estimated 10–18% in energy savings. When configured as a microgrid, PV systems and batteries can power DC building loads in the event of a grid outage, improving the resiliency of homes and businesses. Despite the myriad benefits and opportunities provided by DC, its adoption in the market has been slowed by both the
lack of available equipment and standards and the challenge of overcoming the status quo of building electrification.