Energy Storage & Hot Topics in Renewable Energy

Technical Symposium

DC Hybrid Microgrids: Sharing Operational Data, Values, Challenges to Accelerate Market for Commercial Building Retrofits

Wednesday, September 26
11:40 AM - 12:00 PM
Location: 203AB

Abstract Content : Setting up DC-centric microgrids in occupied commercial buildings is challenging with no roadmap, nor DC equivalents for most AC products. This case study starts with The Alliance Center, a six-story, 40,000 sf building in Denver to demonstrate benefits of retrofitting to DC power in typical commercial buildings that incorporates hybrid DC/AC values. Project partners: NREL, PVI and EnSync Energy will (as one panel, with each person speaking five minutes) present technology utilized, available operational data and lessons learned from this DC-centric microgrid in a compelling business case with a call to action.
It’s a living laboratory, generating data to validate hypothesis that DC microgrids – including AC hybrid points - deliver superior energy efficiency, major cost savings, and user experience that mirrors utility-supplied AC power setup. Presenters will share results that are measurable, repeatable and scalable, financeable and at forefront of commercial DC retrofits. Some operational data presented includes, but not limited to:

• Energy Efficiency: local DC to DC minimizing conversions. Will share comparisons of AC demand versus DC demand for onsite efficiency. Onsite improved efficiencies anticipated from 5-7%.
• Environmental: GHG, Carbon emission reduction. Will compare utility power versus solar power and show efficiency differentials for AC with up to 70% losses across entire spectrum from production to delivery (power plant > transmission losses > conversion losses) as well as associated, measurable GHG emissions… and also not forgotten will be measures of resiliency and cost per kWh.
• Financial: Predictable long-term pricing outlined with solar powered DC will show costs between 2-3 cents/kWh.
• Resilience: Batteries change everything... length of islanding

Presenter data and information will engage! NREL will explain how microgrid’s participation in DOE BENEFITS grant utilizes a rigorous calculation tool to give hard values to DC power and DERs. NREL can explain the tool’s big value shines when utilized to assess 5.6 million U.S. commercial buildings – a market that experienced an increase in lighting and plug-in-loads from 36% to 50% in the last two years!

PVI is entrepreneurial glue bringing the microgrid’s data, market and technology elements together. Their deep field knowledge is shared through lens of not just operational data, but vision on how data points can support scaling DC-centric microgrids through utilization of NREL’s tool, forward-thinking (yet proven) technology, and development of a financeable business model. Transparency central to this project’s success, so hurdles, challenges and lots of data are openly shared. EnSync Energy is the technology integrator giving life to this microgrid through DC-bus based controls and IoT software. Presentation includes call-to-action for participants to suggest possible buildings and technology which can be vetted with NREL’s tool, as well as showing economic and efficiency promises to grow DC-centric microgrids in America.


Bern Gallagher


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DC Hybrid Microgrids: Sharing Operational Data, Values, Challenges to Accelerate Market for Commercial Building Retrofits

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