PV Solar and DC Power

Photovoltaic (PV) solar is promising source of on-site renewable electricity generation for ICT infrastructures. Solar PV generates DC power; computers and other e-devices run on DC power. What are the challenges and opportunities?

Typical PV solar installations use inverters to convert their output to AC before delivering it to a facility's internal wiring. At the other end of the wire, ICT gear use inverters, either inside the case or in an external power brick, to convert the AC back to DC. As much as 15% of power can be lost in this DC-AC-DC conversion cycle. On top of that, inverters are 10%-15% of the cost of a PV solar installation, not to mention the added cost of all those inverters at the equipment side.

One solution is DC distribution within an ICT facility. This concept has had a slow start, but is gaining ground.

DC distribution is yet not "off the shelf", so some solar-powered ICT for remote areas opts for inversion.

British company Solar Ready is trying to make direct PV solar to ICT connection easier with a line of 12VDC ICT products.

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Solar PV and DC power conversion

Matt - this is very helpful information! Thanks for clarifying the issue and offering a solution that could be more effective in the long term approach to solar PV.

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