EMerge Calls for DC Power Initiative

imagesThe advantages of DC power in commercial building spaces have led Emerge Alliance Chairman Brian Patterson to call for an initiative to extend DC power to homes and small businesses. According to Patterson, “DC power distribution would not only maximize the efficiency and ROI of rooftop solar panels by enabling them to directly power consumer electronics, appliances, LEDs and electric vehicles (EVs) without conversion losses, it could also give homeowners a choice to either store excess DC power or continue selling it back to power companies.”

The EMerge announcement states that the new initiative will include “the hybrid use of alternating-current (AC) and DC power by defining interfaces with existing AC power systems at various upstream and downstream levels, with the goal of providing plug-and-play convenience for homes and small businesses.”

Dr. Ib Olsen is the founder of IBD Cleantech Consulting, a firm specializing in energy storage, renewable energy and smart grid. “Mr. Patterson is perfectly correct in stating that DC power for local applications would be much more efficient than AC power,” says Dr. Olsen. “Even today’s electrical motors employ a motor controller that convert AC to DC and then back to AC with a different frequency. However, there is a lot of legacy infrastructure and equipment on the market, which makes switching very slow and initially expensive. A company like Nextek Power Systems has been pushing the technology for 10+ years, but they are still only a niece player. Early adopters could come from two very different areas: Datacenters are already installing DC infrastructure, and rural areas in developing countries are installing micro grids that can be more efficient than we have in developing countries.”

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