Adoption Pathways for DC Power Distribution in Buildings

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Journal Article

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Driven by the proliferation of DC energy sources and DC end-use devices (e.g., photovoltaics, battery storage, solid-state lighting, and consumer electronics), DC power distribution in buildings has recently emerged as a path to improved efficiency, resilience, and cost savings in the transitioning building sector. Despite these important benefits, there are several technological and market barriers impeding the development of DC distribution, which have kept this technology at the demonstration phase. This paper identifies specific end-use cases for which DC distribution in buildings is viable today. We evaluate their technology and market readiness, as well as their efficiency, cost, and resiliency benefits while addressing implementation barriers. The paper starts with a technology review, followed by a comprehensive market assessment, in which we analyze DC distribution field deployments and their end-use characteristics. We also conduct a survey of DC power and building professionals through on-site visits and phone interviews and summarize lessons learned and recommendations. In addition, the paper includes a novel efficiency analysis, in which we quantify energy savings from DC distribution for different end-use categories. Based on our findings, we present specific adoption pathways for DC in buildings that can be implemented today, and for each pathway we identify challenges and offer recommendations for the research and building community



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