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CEDIA ISE Talk: DC Microgrids and Power Quality in the Home

WHY DC?

The Problem

Lighting downtime caused by AC grid failure, outages, and other threats create organizational safety and financial risks. Risk of failures has created an imminently growing need for DC-powered emergency, back-up, remote-site, and off-grid lighting. The cost of building power continues to increase, and lighting costs represent over 70% of power usage. AC limits the cost savings and reduced carbon footprint benefits from renewable and sustainable power sources (Solar, Battery Storage). AC limits the ability power control costs & efficiency and the flexibility of sharing lighting power consumption among various power sources, further limiting control of power usage & costs. AC to DC conversions in standard AC systems are inefficient (avg. 5 to 10% conversion loss). In many processes where consistency and lighting quality is priority. AC lighting circuits are “noisy” and inconsistent, causing flicker and pulsing.

The DC Lighting Solution

Marshall is leading the DC lighting evolution – bringing DC LED to the commercial & industrial world. Our reliable LED fixtures address the growing need for DC to DC, back-up, remote-site, and off-grid lighting.

LED is the proven replacement for Incandescent…with longer life span and more efficient than standard fluorescent (tube) lamps. Marshall DC LED fixtures are manufactured with LED lamps. DC lighitng is the essential link between lighting and DC power sources, seamlessly connecting to renewable / sustainable DC power sources (solar & battery storage).

The building power industry is evolving toward DC…you should be prepared for any contingency, so we offer a variety of DC fixtures that helping you mitigate risk of lighting downtime and provide you peace of mind. We believe you should never be left in the dark.

 

Concept of energy storage system. Renewable energy power plants – photovoltaics, wind turbine farm and battery container.

In a traditional Alternating Current (AC) system, an AC to DC conversion is necessary to use DC power.  DC Lighting takes DC battery power and directs it to the standard DC or LED DC loads. The result is a more dependable, constant circuit that operates with much greater efficiency than an AC system. LED lamp fixtures are now manufactured with LED lamps, providing significantly longer life spans and making them incredibly more efficient than standard fluorescent lamps. 

DC Power Solutions

The building power industry is evolving toward distributed power generation. With the advancement of renewable DC sources such as solar, wind, and battery storage, 24VDC, 48VDC & 125VDC fluorescent lighting addresses the essential link between lighting and DC power sources, providing seamless direct DC to DC connectivity of DC lighting to these sustainable DC power sources.

Risk Management and Optimizing Power Control Options 

There is a growing need for emergency, back-up, remote-site, and off-grid lighting. DC LED Lighting is part of the mitigation strategy providing lighting insurance against risk of power failure and downtime.

DC Lighting is an integral part of the DC Centralized Generation power concept, whereby operators can optimize their power usage and costs by choosing to share power consumption of the lighting system (and other systems, appliances) among various available power sources, namely renewable DC sources such as solar photovoltaic (PV), wind generation, and battery storage to operate the lighting system, while providing further mitigating against the risk of potential downtime caused by AC grid failure and other power interruptions.

DC lighting grids offer the following benefits & value:

  • Mitigation against risk of lighting loss from power failure and/or downtime (when connected batteries and/or other DC sources)
  • Greater dependability & stability (dedicated DC circuit offers lower noise)
  • DC-to-DC connect-ability (seamlessly connect to DC power sources)
  • Opens the opportunity for adding DC devices (i.e. sensors & cameras)
  • Greater efficiency (vs. AC to DC conversion)
  • Optimize cost and power control (enables load shedding/sharing options)
  • Increase energy savings & decrease energy costs
  • Decrease carbon footprint
     

10 Reasons the Future of Lighting is DC

THERE ARE several factors driving local, regional, and national electricity distribution towards direct current (DC), and with the lighting industry first converting to all LED, it’s now time the lighting industry and building infrastructures begin evolving toward DC. Here are 10 reasons why it makes sense…

1. Risk management – DC lighting provides mitigation against risk of lighting loss from power failure or downtime when connected to batteries and/or other alternative DC sources, building lighting can be safe-guarded against external environmental impact such as fires and (deliberate) power outages.

2. Greater dependability & stability – in a traditional Alternating Current (AC) system, an AC/DC conversion is necessary to use DC powered devices. A DC lighting system takes DC power and directs it to the LED DC load. The result is a more dependable, constant circuit that operates with much greater efficiency than the traditional system. The dedicated DC circuit produces lower noise, and removing AC/DC converters improves mean time between failures.

3. DC-to-DC connect-ability – the power industry is moving to distributed power generation, including renewables, such as solar panels and battery. DC lighting seamlessly connects to renewable DC power sources, so it’s much easier to integrate battery packs into DC systems and grids. Additionally, DC-to-DC converters are small devices; up to 20 times smaller their AC-to-DC equivalents.

4. Greater efficiency – in a standard AC lighting application significant energy loss occurs every time power is converted from AC to DC at each device. Removing this conversion stage can improve system efficiency by 5 to 10 percent. In many processes where consistency and lighting quality is priority, AC lighting circuits are “noisy” and inconsistent, causing flicker and pulsing, thus DC offers a viable solution.

5. Optimize cost and power control – a DC lighting grid inherently enables load sharing options; for example – when integrating solar and batteries with lighting, operators can optimize their power usage and costs by choosing to share power consumption of the lighting system (and other systems, appliances) among the available DC power sources.

6. Decrease costs – with the conversion to LED, lighting has effectively gone DC, eliminating the need and added manufacturing expense of requiring local drivers for each lamp. Subsequently, this also results in cooler operation, more efficient and longer life of LEDs, as well as and cooler ceiling voids and building interiors, thus reducing the potential building heat load.

7. Convenience with lamps & bulbs – LED lamps are manufactured to include DC LED lamps or bulbs, providing significantly savings and convenience for installers and end-users.

8. Proven technologies; many blue chip companies and power utilities are currently using DC micro-grids for various lighting applications, and the momentum is being driven by the factors and benefits we have described.

9. Expandability – a DC grid opens the opportunity for adding DC devices (i.e. sensors & cameras) and creating a network which can use data to deliver new services.

10. Decrease carbon footprint – DC lighting powered by sustainable renewables reduces carbon emissions equal to the energy produced to power the lighting load, which can be more than 70% of a building’s electrical usage.

DC Technology

Applications & Uses

"Marshall DC kept the lights on during the NY power failure of 2019"
Alene Elvine
Offsite Manager
“Marshall DC powered our Australian outback facility"
Jonas Gerber
Lead Engineer

Keep your emergency lights on with marshall DC

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