VEIC Author
Peter Schneider
Leslie Badger
Partners & Clients
Direct Energy Partners
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

The technology to interconnect buildings with a dedicated direct-current (DC) power distribution network is in place today. What is missing is a turnkey approach to designing a DC microgrid, and the business models allowing such systems to be deployed, owned, and operated at scale.

To close this gap, the Salisbury Square Development Team, comprising clean-energy experts, has engineered a resilient community DC microgrid for an affordable housing community in Randolph, Vermont.

Nine single-family, occupant-owned residences and 12 multifamily rental units will share locally generated and stored solar energy via a DC power distribution bus capable of operating during extended grid outages. With a DC power distribution network in place, each home will be equipped with high-efficiency DC lighting and appliances, operating alongside alternating current (AC) appliances, even during an islanded mode of operation.

To obtain a comprehensive understanding of what is possible and achievable, the Team collaborated with the local utility, regulatory agencies, a national laboratory, energy-as-service providers, and vendors. The collaborators evaluated microgrid typologies, business models, and energy modeling, and analyzed electrification and resilience. The Team also applied NREL's Urban Renewable Building and Neighborhood optimization software development kit to validate workflows and identify needs for advanced capability. 

Presented at the 2022 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency, this paper describes the Salisbury project, addresses the barriers to entry, scalability, and impact on residents and system ownership, and examines the analysis that informed the design and engineering of the DC microgrid and the opportunities to streamline the process.

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