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DC Microgrids in Buildings – Planning Today for Tomorrow’s Needs

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Direct Current (DC) microgrids in buildings are evolving and expanding.

The alternating current (AC) market has been in place for over a century. While DC has been around for longer, AC dominates the industry. However, this may change since, over the past decade, new and more efficient DC devices have been introduced to building systems. Further, the lower cost and higher benefits of distributed energy resources (DER) such as photovoltaic (PV) power and battery storage are increasing in popularity. Interconnecting DER with DC technologies is creating microgrids that are evolving beyond the current set of standards documents and safety protocols.

CSA Group published a research report in March 2019, which produced an important knowledge base, as well as a list of high-priority items for standards development. To expand upon the initial research, this report summarizes insights from a workshop involving over 40 Canadian industry stakeholders who were asked to:

  • Visualize the DC microgrids of the future (2030)
  • Explore the DC microgrid value
  • Uncover tools needed to capture that value and
  • Identify solutions to barriers and opportunities.

They were also asked to provide their views on the highest priorities for standardization and research needed for DC microgrids to be successful, efficient, and safe. The potential value of DC microgrids; the tools, solutions, and standardization needs; and the further research required as identified in the workshop are summarized in the full report. This report demonstrates that there is a need, and an industry desire, to see more awareness, tools, education, and standardization in the DC marketplace.

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