The EMerge® Alliance has long promoted direct-current (DC) power distribution standards for buildings. The organization (of which Nextek is a founding member) has announced the launch of a new residential DC power standards initiative to advance the use of DC power in homes and small businesses. As the number and percentage of semiconductor-based devices, which run only on DC power, continue to grow, it only makes sense to find ways to connect them to DC power sources. This would eliminate conversion of AC power to DC, which results in power loss to heat.

The residential initiative will also include hybrid use of alternating current (AC) and DC power by defining interfaces with existing AC power systems at various points in the system. The goal of the approach is to provide plug-and-play DC convenience for homes and small businesses for such uses as personal electronics and home automation equipment, as well as EV charging and direct support of the expanding use of USB, wireless charging and other low-voltage DC power distribution methods.

According to EMerge® Alliance Chairman Brian Patterson, the increasing percentage of home electronics running on DC power, combined with the rapid expansion of the residential solar market in the U.S., makes DC power distribution a clear opportunity for homes to achieve energy savings and grid independence. “We have seen the sustainability, flexibility and reliability advantages that DC power provides to commercial building spaces, and it’s time to extend these benefits to homes and small businesses,” Patterson said. “DC power distribution would not only maximize the efficiency and ROI of rooftop solar panels by enabling them to directly power consumer electronics, appliances, LEDs and electric vehicles (EVs) without conversion losses, it could also give homeowners a choice to either store excess DC power or continue selling it back to power companies.”

The Alliance will next form a technical committee to identify needs and opportunities for residential DC power standards. EMerge® Alliance members will collaborate with organizations like IEEE, the world’s largest professional association for the advancement of technology, and NextEnergy Center’s NextHome, a DC-connected house demonstration project, to determine best practices for implementation.

The EMerge® Alliance is an open industry association leading the rapid adoption of safe direct-current (DC) power distribution standards for buildings. The Alliance is the only application standards development group working on advancing the use of DC power in residential and commercial buildings.

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