Xiamen University will be the first place in China to build and operate a direct-current microgrid structure. The University will install and utilize this technology through partnerships with Nextek Power Systems, People Power Company, Canadian Solar, Intel Corporation and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). The announcement came on March 19, 2012 at the Haixi International New Energy Industry Expo and Forum.
The microgrid will be built on the roof of the School of Energy Research. After construction is complete, the building will serve as a model for future projects of its kind. If the project demonstrates the success that is expected, the microgrids could be implemented on other campuses or as a part of other commercial buildings in China and around the world.
"Nextek Power Systems is delighted to be working with our friends at LBNL, Intel, People Power Company, Canadian Solar and Xiamen University to field our first significant installation in the country," said Paul Savage, CEO of Nextek Power Systems. "We think the opportunities that will spring from this are endless."
“The Xiamen University Direct-Current Microgrid has the potential to transform building management because it can integrate DC power from renewable energy with many loads. This will enable building managers to reduce capital expenditures as well as operational costs over the life of their buildings,” said Professor Fengyan Zhang of the School of Energy Research.
China’s significant energy consumption is part of the reason that Xiamen University was chosen for this project. The direct-current microgrid can be controlled with a mobile device, or online.
As a result, the building will be able to use renewable energy in a flexible, integrated way. “DC microgrids can transform conventional buildings into smarter buildings by adding compelling, cloud-based energy load demand management and user engagement programs. This innovation creates an exciting set of energy and workflow options for building managers and occupants,” said Gene Wang, CEO of People Power.
New building energy codes in China demand 50 percent greater efficiency with only 10 percent cost increase. The solution that a direct-current microgrid offers allows buildings to improve building efficiency and productivity, and simultaneously reduce the dependence on non-renewable sources of energy.