California Energy Commission awards $2.8 million to demonstrate microgrid

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The California Energy Commission has announced a proposed award to Robert Bosch for $2,817,566 to demonstrate a high-penetration, renewable energy-based microgrid.

With this award, Bosch will demonstrate the effectiveness of its Direct-Current Building-Scale Microgrid Platform (Bosch DC microgrid) in an American Honda Motor Co. parts distribution center. The project is designed to illustrate the viability and benefits of a commercial-scale DC building grid compared with conventional AC-based grid connected solar photovoltaic (PV) systems or microgrids.

The Bosch DC microgrid project will provide a low-cost, highly energy-efficient solution in which the DC microgrid connects rooftop solar power arrays to energy-efficient DC lighting, DC ventilation and DC energy storage systems on a 380-volt DC bus to form a DC building grid. The approach allows commercial buildings to become zero-net-energy users in a cost-effective manner.

Bosch will use this project to demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of a commercial-scale DC building grid that integrates multiple advanced technologies to provide reliable power to the loads on the DC grid, resilience during grid outages, increased energy efficiencies and renewable energy use. Once the project is installed and commissioned, performance data will be collected to validate the cost savings, energy efficiency gains and the capabilities of the advanced microgrid energy management system.

The project will directly enhance the technical understanding of how to integrate and optimize distributed renewable energy generation into the California distribution infrastructure, pave the way for introduction and large-scale adoption of cost-effective and energy-efficient DC power distribution architectures, and establish a complete supply chain for system integration through various partnerships.

To provide the best design, engineering and performance validation expertise for the Bosch DC microgrid, Bosch has partnered with Navigant Consulting and the California Lighting Technology Center (CLTC), UC Davis. Additionally, Bosch will partner with a number of California-based companies, including Maxwell Technologies and Imergy Power Systems, for the complete technology supply chain.

Through these partnerships, technical experts with a long track record of success in piloting and delivering technologies that can be incorporated into advanced microgrids will participate in the project. Together, Bosch and its partners provided $1,790,095 in in-kind and matching funds to assist in the development, planning and execution of the project.

Bosch plans to begin the project once the contract with the California Energy Commission is signed and conclude the project by February 2018.

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