Resilient, Rural, and Revolutionary: Salisbury Square's Direct-Current Affordable Microgrid Community: Preprint

Peter Schneider, Leslie Badger, Dusan Brhlik, David Goldwasser, Ben Polly

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The technology to interconnect buildings with a dedicated direct-current (DC) power distribution network is in place today; what is missing is a turnkey approach to designing a DC microgrid - and the business models allowing such systems to be deployed, owned, and operated at scale. To close this gap, the Salisbury Square Development Team, comprising clean-energy experts, has engineered a resilient community DC microgrid for an affordable housing community in Randolph, Vermont. Ten single-family, occupant-owned residences and 12 multifamily rental units will share locally generated and stored solar energy via a DC power distribution bus capable of operating during extended grid outages. With a DC power distribution network in place, each home will be equipped with high-efficiency DC lighting and appliances, operating alongside alternating current (AC) appliances, even during an islanded mode of operation. To obtain a comprehensive understanding of what is possible and achievable, the Team collaborated with the local utility, regulatory agencies, a national laboratory, energy-as-service providers, and vendors. The collaborators evaluated microgrid typologies, business models, and energy modeling, and analyzed electrification and resilience. Further, the Team applied the URBANoptTM (Urban Renewable Building and Neighborhood optimization, NREL 2022) software development kit (SDK) to Salisbury Square's single-family and multifamily buildings to validate workflows and identify needs for advanced capability. This paper addresses the barriers to entry, scalability, and impact on residents and system ownership. It also examines the analysis that informed the design and engineering of the DC microgrid and the opportunities to streamline the process.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages19
StatePublished - 2022
Event2022 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings - Pacific Grove, California
Duration: 21 Aug 202226 Aug 2022


Conference2022 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings
CityPacific Grove, California

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5500-83181


  • DER
  • direct-current
  • microgrid
  • nanogrid
  • resilient
  • rural
  • Salisbury Square
  • URBANopt
  • VEIC


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