At LightFair, I was part of a panel presenting the impacts of electrification on the lighting industry. This article is Part 5 of the series.
Electrification of building heat, hot water, cooking, as well as the transportation sector will create tremendous stresses on the electrical grid and utilities. This is already beginning to happen as many businesses request electrical upgrades to put in EV chargers and utilities cite delays of one or two years, often with no commitment to increase electrical service to businesses. This varies widely by utility and area, but it has started.
Once a building converts HVAC, hot water, and cooking to electricity (as well as EV charging) the consequences of power outages get more severe. More building systems stop working during a power outage.
One strategy to protect against utility delays, rate hikes, decreasing electric utility reliability is for commercial buildings and homes to install their own electrical generation, such as solar, along with battery energy storage. This creates a basic micro-grid. Rather than convert solar DC-power to A/C to power devices that convert from AC back to DC (i.e. an LED driver), there is a growing movement to create micro-grid devices that operate on DC-power directly. This is happening in lighting, as well. The Emerge Alliance has some standards for DC microgrids and the devices to operate on such micro-grids, such as lighting. Another example of DC lighting is Power over Ethernet (PoE) lighting.
All of these considerations are likely to lead to a growing market for DC-powered lighting, to operate on micro-grids, for industrial, commercial, and residential sectors.
Image: Marshall DC Lighting
Part 1, about rapidly changing building and energy codes, can be found here.
Part 2, about new electrification products sold in the lighting industry, such as EV chargers and e-bikes, can be found here.
Part 3, about the drivers of deeper energy efficiency retrofits, can be found here.
Part 4, about material & metal shortages, can be found here.