THE DC MICROGRID STORY
At AEG and our parent company Hyde Park Partners, Inc. in Charlotte, N.C., we were introduced to and subsequently worked with Bosch Corporation to pilot a solar system for our 24,000-sq. ft. R&D and warehouse facility using DC-only energy. Solar panels natively produce electricity in the form of Direct Current (DC). Almost all solar energy that is produced is inverted to Alternate Current (AC) electricity in order to be used in the form that is typical of our electrical system in the U.S., indeed worldwide. The downsides to the common approach include:
Some of the energy produced is lost in inversion from DC (native) to AC.
Newer lighting technologies (LED) ultimately require DC so AC electricity is then converted back to DC at the light itself resulting in more energy loss.
Typical AC solar systems must be grid-tied to the utilities’ electrical system. If the electrical grid goes down even momentarily your AC solar system MUST turn itself off; your power goes away as well.
Our quest is to inform you that there is another option when it comes to solar – a DC solar microgrid. Consumption of energy is more efficient i.e. more of the total amount of energy produced is consumed vs. lost in conversion. Perhaps more importantly, your system is naturally islanded from the electrical grid meaning that you do not share your power back to the utility unless you have excess and desire to do so AND when the grid fails, your solar system remains functioning powering the loads of your business.
When adding batteries to your system you are building in the security of backup power. When the grid goes down your lights will continue to glow no matter what time of day!