New demands for electricity generation, delivery, and consumption are driving direct current (DC) back into the electrical, reports ABI Research. Utilities have long delivered alternating current (AC) for distribution around the home, but a growing list of smart home devices convert to use direct current (DC) within them. The ability to creating a single point for that conversion and run DC throughout the home, a DC microgrid, offers the potential to maximize home electricity efficiency and the benefits are there for everyone from consumers to device manufacturers, contractors, utilities, the environment, and more.
“Global manufacturers like Bosch, Schneider Electric, and Siemens all deliver suitable DC microgrids equipment for the commercial market but the residential landscape remains open,” says Jonathan Collins, Research Director at ABI Research. “Changing the way the world creates and consumes energy may seem too enormous to envision, but many trends that will support a shift to primarily DC-only or hybrid grids within a single home are already, and increasingly, supporting the evolution of energy consumption.”
Data centers increasingly use local DC microgrids for efficiency and cost savings. As more home devices—computers, LED lighting, and electric vehicles—also use DC power, the same benefits will be sought at the residential level.
The growing demand for residential photovoltaic installations also means that using a DC microgrid to distribute electricity more efficiently will provide further return on investments into solar power. Utilities see the potential for microgrids to be help support a systematic shift toward distributed power generation. This will also increase resiliency and ensure service during growing peak demand without requiring investment in new infrastructure.
The next five years herald the potential for DC microgrids to gain traction in the global market driven by ongoing efforts in China and North America and a few western European countries. While home adoption will remain limited to close to one million homes by 2021, the homes will help provide the testbed for wider adoption in the decades to come.
“There remain some significant markers to be tackled by DC’s supporters, but the potential to provide value to a wide range of industries, as well as to help nations better manage resources and meet environmental goals, will help drive innovation and development over the next key five years,” concludes Collins.
These findings are from ABI Research’s The Evolution of DC Microgrids in Residential Markets report.
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