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Power Efficiency Gains by Deploying 415 VAC Power Distribution in North American Data Centers

July 17, 2020
High physical density and high power density go “hand in hand” when it comes to the data center. To maximize both without having to pay for specialty infrastructure, many data centers have found it attractive to deploy 415V 3-phase AC power to the rack.

Within enterprise data centers, power used for operating the facility, lighting, running IT loads and cooling it is the largest component of operational expense (OPEX) of the facility. Numerous papers and articles have been published by The Green Grid, The Uptime Institute, PG&E, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories (LBNL) and others discussing ways to measure, monitor and increase efficiencies.

This paper discusses various approaches to reduce power consumption and increase end-to-end efficiency in the data center by bringing 415 VAC power to the IT cabinet/ rack level. With power densities continuing to rise, more efficient solutions continue to be explored especially as power cost increases and power availability decreases.

The power path from the building entrance to the IT loads contains several power converters and transformers to perform each conversion; there is a loss of power. Reducing the number of transformers and operating at a higher voltage improves efficiency and reduces electrical costs.

This paper discusses an alternative approach to power distribution presently being implemented in North American data centers that increase efficiencies and savings by reducing upfront capital costs, power consumption and floor space.