Robert Bosch LLC has been selected to receive a proposed award of about $2.8 million dollars by the California Energy Commission. Bosch is to demonstrate its Direct Current Building-Scale Microgrid Platform, specifically at an American Honda Motor Co., Inc. parts center. Some of the benefits of using a DC microgrid are that when connected to rooftop solar, it can provide electricity to DC lights, DC energy storage, and DC ventilation systems. All of this is to help a commercial building become a net-zero facility.
Oliver Steinig, vice president of business development for Robert Bosch LLC, explained:
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.
You can imagine that having your own microgrid on site would be very helpful when there are issues with the main grid, such as blackouts, brownouts, or any kind of natural disaster. Any power disruption could have serious consequences for a business operation. How much does it cost for each disruption, and what is the total cost? We’ve all heard the expression, “Time is Money”; you could add “Power is Money” to that one.
Additionally, when you have your own renewable energy generating system, with energy storage and a microgrid, you have something like energy independence. Combine that with intelligent analytics and software, and you have a lot of data to use to optimize system performance and reduce costs.
Utility bills are sometimes the monthly documents we don’t even look at, so how do we know they are accurate and that we are not being overcharged? Overcharges and billing errors do occur sometimes, but if you have your own energy system, this problem can’t do as much damage to the bottom line.
That the test site is a Honda parts distribution center speaks to an important part of the equation – energy management is about economics, as much as wanting to be “greener.” In fact, increasingly, it may be more about saving money over the long-term, because energy efficiency typically does have this benefit, when it is managed carefully.
The California Energy Commission has had a focus on energy storage in California for some time, and is quite right to do so. Microgrids are part of that industry, because they increase energy efficiency where energy storage systems are located, typically.
Energy grids are not exactly a popular topic of conversation, but they are an important part of the energy industry transformation that is taking place right now.
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