Microgrid Consulting Services
Within a building, we call this a nanogrid; a system that can operate in both grid-connected and off-grid (islanded) modes at a particular voltage. When this system is linked to other similar systems through distribution, these nanogrids are then linked together into a microgrid.
We created our Microgrid Services to help clients who are serious about zero-net energy and resilience, so they can achieve a higher level of energy sustainability and reliability, while minimizing generating capacity requirements through our streamlined and highly efficient design approach to hybrid-AC/DC microgrids and nanogrids.
As members of the REBus Allianceand the EMerge Alliance TM, Acuity Power Group is actively advancing the awareness and implementation of DC microgrids in residential and commercial applications. As member of E-Merge Alliance’s DC Microgrid Technical Standards Committee for Buildings and Campuses, we are helping to develop international industry standards that will become the platform of a more efficient and resilient energy infrastructure.
Many engineers that design microgrids today approach their work from the supply side of the equation. What makes Acuity Power Group unique is that we begin our work on the demand (or load side) and work back toward the power supply side.
Our goal is to design power solutions that maximizes the reduction of entropy, providing the least amount of renewable power generation required to meet a highly efficient power load. To do this, we begin our work from the load-side of the equation. Our load-side approach to engineering has radically positive consequences when it comes to highly efficient electrical design.
First, in solving problems from the load (or demand) side of the equation, it immediately becomes clear that, while the utility grid has not changed substantially in design over the last 100 years, loads on the other hand, have changed very dramatically.
Since the advent of the semi-conductor in the late-1950’s, the loads we use in homes and business have steadily changed and are now mostly powered natively in direct current (DC) electricity. And even more thought provoking is that the new standard in efficient lighting – LEDs – are also a native DC load. Why is this important? Well, if you’re trying to get to zero-net energy, this is enormously important. Conversion losses between AC power supplies and DC power loads can account for up to 10%-30% energy waste, depending on the application. And there’s more.
If renewable power is generated onsite from solar PV, that is also DC power until it arrives at the inverter. Which leads to the question, if loads are mostly native DC, and we’re generating power onsite in DC, why do we create the unnecessary waste and complexity from inverting it to AC, only to rectify it back to DC? Doesn’t this only waste energy and create heat that must be cooled? Is all of this expensive inversion and conversion equipment needed? And does this finicky electrical equipment only serve as potential failure points within the power system? You get the idea…
But there must be a reason why we use AC power, right? Well, if we’re not transmitting power across large regions of the country then – not really. In fact, DC power makes a lot more sense for many reasons. If you can reduce conversion waste, that means less battery storage and generating capacity. It also means less electrical equipment and waste heat. That’s a lot of savings, a lot less carbon, and a lot more reliability.
The reason we developed an AC power infrastructure, back in the days of Edison and Westinghouse, was because a transformer had been invented to allow high voltage distribution of AC power, which could then be transformed to more usable lower voltages near points of service. It wasn’t until the 1940’s or so that an equivalent DC transformer technology was invented. If not for this reason, we may likely have followed Edison’s advice.
We developed our DC Microgrid practice to help clients who are serious about zero-net energy and resilience, so they can achieve a higher level efficiency and reliability with less generating capacity.