The Alliance Center (TAC) is a model for high-performance building innovation, and we are thrilled to be piloting the Direct Current (DC) Microgrid Project. The solar panels on our roof, the highly-efficient batteries in our basement, and the necessary equipment to power DC lights and plugs in our first-floor suite are the backbone of this project… but why DC?

WHY DIRECT CURRENT?

  • Save energy and money. Many pieces of equipment (laptops, phones, etc.) are native to direct current.  That hot bulky thing on your laptops power cord is converting alternating current (from the grid) to direct current.  That heat is the energy lost from the conversion, so removing the need for these adaptors/conversion reduces the energy consumed.  This energy, money and greenhouse gases generated from our electrical grid.
  • Powering our first-floor suite with the DC Microgrid offers The Alliance Center an added level of resiliency in the face of our aging national power grid.  In other words, we will stay powered up and operational if there are any issues with the wider electrical grid.

OUR GOALS FOR THE DC MICROGRID PROJECT

We are piloting this technology in our first floor suite to advance the following goals. Educate people on DC to promote wider adoption of DC distribution serving DC-native technologies.

  • Discover the actual energy savings by going straight from DC generation to (aka solar) to DC end use devices (e.g – laptops, TVs, etc)
  • Collaborate with external groups such as investors, municipalities, real-estate developers, manufacturers, and others to further support the adoption of DC power.
  • Use zero-emission onsite renewable energy, including rooftop solar, to feed as much of the building energy load as possible via DC.
  • Stay connected to the AC grid to ensure those devices connected to the DC Microgrid have a resource for maintaining power when renewables are not available or the storage in the batteries have been expended.
  • Demonstrate the benefits and efficiencies of DC in retrofitting existing commercial buildings.
  • We aim to promote wider adoption of DC distribution serving DC-native technologies.

PROJECT MILESTONES

  • Early Discussions – 2014
  • Collaboration efforts begin – 2015
  • DC installation design efforts begin – 2015
  • Data collection begins for AC network for baseline comparisons – 2016
  • Formal plans submitted to City of Denver – 2016
  • Construction begins – August 2017
  • System testing begins – December 2017 (ongoing)
  • System operational and collecting data – Upcoming

Please stay tuned! We will be sharing more information about the project and our findings in the coming months.