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DC Microgrids in Buildings

In all but the earliest years of the electrical industry, buildings have been powered using AC power, while direct current (DC) power has been limited to a few niche applications. Recently, new technological and economic factors have expanded the use of DC power in buildings. With the greater adoption of solid-state electronics, solar photovoltaic power sources, other renewable energy systems, and energy storage systems that supply DC power, there is increasing potential for DC-based generation, distribution, storage, and utilization equipment. This has given rise to the concept of DC “microgrids”, which are systems comprised of DC loads and distributed energy resources that can operate independently upon loss of the normal AC supply.

This report explores current trends in DC-based distribution technology, including standards development activities, and evaluates 43 recent DC microgrids to determine gaps and identify the most critical steps to enable adoption of DC power systems.

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