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New standard for low voltage energy access "a game changer"
Date: 2022-08-30    Source:IEC   

The IEC has just published IEC 63318, the first standard developed by the Low Voltage Direct Current (LVDC) Systems Committee. Rajeev Sharma is the Convenor of the working group which prepared this essential document. "I am convinced this standard, once implemented, will prove to be a game changer as it will enable to bring electricity access to millions of deprived households across the world," he says. "LVDC will act as an enabler for electricity access by the use of locally generated DC power through non-conventional sources, such as sun or wind. It will also bring greater energy efficiency," Sharma points out.

Applying the World Bank Multi-Tier Framework

The standard adopts the World Bank's Multi-Tier Framework (MTF) initiative approach, which redefines the way energy access is measured, going beyond the traditional binary measure of "connected or not connected" for electricity access.

The MTF starts with the lowest level of access (Tier 1), referring to limited access to small quantities of electricity for a few hours per day, enabling the household to use electric lighting and phone charging This level of access can be provided by a small solar lighting system. Higher tiers of access are defined by higher capacity and longer duration of supply, enabling the use of medium and high load appliances (such as refrigerators, washing machines and air conditioning). IEC 63318 refers to level 2 and level 3 of the World Bank classification.

Challenges addressed by IEC 63318

The standard had to solve several technology conundrums, some of them dealing specifically with the co-existence of DC systems with an AC grid. According to Sharma, other challenges included: "defining a voltage that is inherently safe and results in low distribution loss; earthing considerations; being compliant with other existing standards while addressing current needs; paving the way for its evolution into a microgrid standard in the future; and, last but not least, ensuring scalability and a sustainable ecosystem of parts and suppliers".

(Source: IEC)



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