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DC Distribution Opportunities and Impact on Homes and Buildings 

  • March 2016
  • 56 pages
  • Frost & Sullivan
Report ID: 3711151


Table of Contents

DC Distribution Opportunities and Impact on Homes and Buildings : Renewable Energy Technologies, Energy Storage Systems, and EVs are Vital for DC to Gain Traction in Homes and Buildings

With the rising penetration of energy-consuming 'above the waist' (native DC) loads in commercial and residential applications and the increasing focus on the adoption of energy-efficient systems to fulfill ambitious national goals, the debate over the relative merits of AC- versus DC- based systems has intensified. This study takes the discussion further and analyses key drivers, such as solar PV power generation, energy storage, LED lighting, and electric vehicles, and their impact on the homes and buildings industries (which would enable the emergence of a DC-powered ecosystem). The convergence of competition, key business models, and the front runners in terms of offering LVDC products is also discussed.

Key Findings

-In today’s world, power distribution in buildings is dominated by alternating current (AC) systems. Despite the ongoing debate of the various merits of AC versus direct current (DC) distribution, the original battle was won many decades ago by AC and the result is a huge legacy and installed base of AC distribution in homes and buildings.

-More recently, the debate has been re-opened due to rapid growth in DC-friendly areas, such as energy storage, solar photovoltaic (PV) power generation, LED lighting, mobile device charging, and electric vehicles (EVs). All these could potentially operate more efficiently and safely in a DC ecosystem.

-The increasing adoption of solar PV in homes and buildings for power generation, and its integration with energy storage systems (ESSs), and the mainstream entry of LED lighting will be gateways for the emergence of DC distribution networks in future.

-Market challenges, such as legacy AC systems and the lack of DC-ready products, pose great barriers to DC distribution in buildings. However, open industry associations, such as EMerge Alliance, are striving to address these barriers by providing standards for DC power distribution.

-A DC-powered ecosystem will be suitable for applications such as data centres, telecom shelters, and commercial and residential buildings as % of the energy in these buildings is consumed by devices and equipment native to DC loads.

-The United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, China, Japan, and South Korea hold the potential to move towards developing stand-alone and grid-connected DC-powered buildings and DC distribution networks as they are strong contributors in terms of LED lighting, solar PV, and energy storage.

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