Bosch to Demonstrate DC Microgrid at Honda in California

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In hopes of paving the way for large-scale use of DC microgrids in California, international tech giant Robert Bosch plans to install a demonstration project at an American Honda Motor parts distribution center.

Bosch’s aim is to show that its building-scale DC microgrid more effectively integrates renewables than a conventional AC-based grid-connected solar PV microgrid.

The California Energy Commission (CEC) is providing $2.8 million for the project. Bosch and its partners will contribute in-kind and matching funds of $1.8 million. The partners include the California Lighting Technology Center at UC Davis, Honda, Imergy Power Systems, Maxwell and Navigant.

Bosch will connect rooftop solar PV arrays to energy-efficient DC equipment, including lighting, ventilation and energy storage, on a 380-volt DC bus to form the DC building grid. The approach allows commercial buildings to become zero-net-energy users in a cost-effective manner, according to company.

“We are confident the Bosch DC microgrid system will contribute to California’s carbon reduction and energy efficiency goals by increasing the reliability and utilization of distributed renewable energy and improving the energy efficiency of state-of-the-art technologies – such as LED lighting paired with advanced lighting controls, motors with variable frequency drives and energy storage systems – by operating them on DC power,” said Oliver Steinig, Bosch vice president of business development.

The company plans to collect performance data to validate the cost savings, energy efficiency gains and the capabilities of the DC microgrid energy management system. Steinig expects the results to be lower microgrid installation and operating costs and increased reliability and quality of the power provided to the building.

Specifically, Bosch said it hopes to:

  • Directly enhance the technical understanding of how to integrate and optimize distributed renewables into the California distribution system
  • Pave the way for introduction and large-scale adoption of cost-effective and energy-efficient DC power distribution
  • Establish a complete supply chain for system integration through various partnerships.

Bosch plans to begin the DC microgrid project once the CEC signs off on the contract and expects to complete it by February 2018.

The Bosch Group last year generated sales of $11.3 billion in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico and $65 billion worldwide.

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of She has been writing about energy for more than three decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.