China’s Solar, DC-Powered Microgrid, Courtesy of Intel, Nextek, LBNL and People Power

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

China’s Xiamen University enlists partners to use direct-current solar power for lights, HVAC and data centers. Will DC-to-the-desktop be next?

"Solar panels generate direct current (DC) power, and computers, printers, telephones, lights, and pretty much every other typical office power load use DC power. Why waste energy converting all that power to alternating current (AC) and back again, just to satisfy a century-old convention for how we electrify buildings?

That’s the premise behind a fascinating project underway at China’s Xiamen University that’s using DC power to connect rooftop solar panels to lights, HVAC systems, data centers and plug-in vehicle chargers. Nextek Power Systems is providing the solar-to-building DC power technology, China-based Canadian Solar provides the solar panels, and Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup People Power will provide the cloud-based software platform to connect it to people in the building."