Bosch awarded $2.8m to demo DC microgrid in California

Posted on 19 Mar 2015 by Tim Brown
Bosch hopes to prove that it's DC microgrid is a cost effective way to transform commercial buildings into zero energy users - image courtesy of Bosch

The California Energy Commission has announced a proposed award to Robert Bosch LLC for $2.8m to demonstrate a high-penetration, renewable-based microgrid.

With this award, Bosch will demonstrate the effectiveness of its Direct-Current Building-Scale Microgrid Platform (Bosch DC microgrid) in an American Honda Motor parts distribution center.

The project is designed to illustrate the viability and benefits of a commercial-scale DC building grid compared with conventional AC-based grid connected solar photovoltaic (PV) systems or microgrids.

The Bosch DC microgrid project will provide a low-cost, highly energy-efficient solution in which the DC microgrid connects rooftop solar PV arrays to energy-efficient DC lighting, DC ventilation and DC energy storage systems on a 380-volt DC bus to form a DC building grid.

According to Bosch, the approach allows commercial buildings to become zero-net-energy users in a cost-effective manner.

“We are confident the Bosch DC microgrid system will contribute to California’s carbon reduction and energy efficiency goals by increasing the reliability and utilization of distributed renewable energy and improving the energy efficiency of state-of-the-art technologies – such as LED lighting paired with advanced lighting controls, motors with variable frequency drives and energy storage systems – by operating them on DC power,” said Oliver Steinig, vice president of business development for Robert Bosch LLC.

“This will reduce installation costs and lower operating costs, while increasing reliability and quality of the power provided to building loads.”

Bosch will use this project to demonstrate: the feasibility and benefits of a commercial-scale DC building grid to provide reliable power to the loads on the DC grid; resilience during grid outages; increased energy efficiencies; and renewable energy utilization.

Once the project is installed and commissioned, performance data will be collected to validate the cost savings, energy efficiency gains and the capabilities of the advanced microgrid energy management system.

The project will directly enhance the technical understanding of how to integrate and optimize distributed renewable energy generation into the California distribution infrastructure; pave the way for introduction and large-scale adoption of cost-effective and energy-efficient DC power distribution architectures; and establish a complete supply chain for system integration through various partnerships.