Optimizing Energy Savings from Direct-DC in U.S. Residential Buildings

July 15, 2011 (All day)

An increasing number of energy efficient appliances operate on direct current (DC) internally, offering the potential to use DC from renewable energy systems directly and avoiding the losses inherent in converting power to alternating current (AC) and back. This work investigates that potential for net-metered residences with on-site photovoltaics (PV) by modeling the net power draw of the ‘direct-DC house’ compared to that of today’s AC net-metered house, assuming identical DC-internal loads. Power draws were modeled for houses in 14 U.S. cities, using hourly, simulated PV-system output and residential loads. The latter were adjusted to reflect a 35% load reduction, representative of the most efficient DC-internal technology, based on an analysis of 32 electricity end-uses. The model tested the effect of climate, electric vehicle (EV) loads, electricity storage, and load shifting on electricity savings; a sensitivity analysis was conducted to determine how future changes in the efficiencies of power system components might affect savings potential.

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