Today, the workshop on LVDC hosted by the IEC and the BSN opens in Jakarta. The workshop provides participants with insight on LVDC, the work of the IEC in developing standards for LVDC and case studies on the introduction of LVDC in Africa and India.
Over 35 participants are attending, including experts from across Europe and Asia.
“We are very excited to be in Jakarta and have the opportunity to talk about LVDC. Indonesia, with 10,000 inhabited islands, has a daunting task of bringing affordable clean energy to all these remote sites. Here, IEC standards for LVDC based networks and solar home systems are pivotal to Indonesia achieving its electrification objectives and also its SDG commitments”, said Vimal Mahendru, Chair of the IEC systems committee on LVDC.
Interest in LVDC
Renewed interest in LVDC has been sparked by the technology’s suitability in providing electricity in rural areas that are currently not served by the electrical grid. LVDC can be generated anywhere using renewable energy. And because solar, wind and water energy all yield DC electricity, it is more efficient to use the DC electricity directly for DC driven devices rather than converting it to AC and back to DC again. Electricity generated from off-grid, renewable energy can be used for applications such as water pumping and healthcare services.
According to Mahendru, “today, in most countries, electricity is produced in large plants as alternating current (AC). But for a majority of devices, we consume electricity as direct current (DC). Renewable energy sources typically yield direct current. This means that, especially for rural areas, small-scale installations can provide safe, affordable and clean electricity for all”.
In India, 48 LVDC based projects have brought electricity access in areas with diverse geographies. These are either DC microgrids or solar home systems, all operating on 48V LVDC. Electricity has been used for pumping water as well as in homes and schools. It is estimated that LVDC based electricity has been deployed in 600,000 dwellings.
A systems approach
Given that the standardization of LVDC technologies requires a holistic approach, the IEC has set up a dedicated systems committee (SyC). SyC LVDC provides guidance on the standardization of LVDC and includes the input from various IEC technical committees such as those related to solar photovoltaic (PV) energy systems (TC 82), the safety of electrical installations (TC 64), system aspects of electrical energy supply (TC 8) and electric accessories (TC 23).
SyC LVDC is currently preparing a reference document with evaluation methods for determining whether two electrical items or systems, when connected together, will operate reliably as intended and meet safety requirements. It is also considering work on the compilation of use-cases for public LVDC distribution.
SyC LVDC held meetings in Jakarta earlier in the week.