March 27, 2014
The global microgrid market is rapidly gaining prominence as supportive government policies in various countries encourage the setting up of renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar farms. The market in the US has established a clear lead, primarily engaging microgrids for remote and military applications. In Europe, microgrids are viewed as a suitable option for renewable energy integration. Emerging economies in Asia-Pacific, though, present the largest market potential as they look to counter power shortages and low grid connectivity.
Frost & Sullivan's analysis of the emerging global microgrid space estimates that there will be a sharp rise in installations from 2015 to 2020. Among the different application sites for microgrids, remote community site deployments are expected to experience the strongest and most consistent growth in the next five years. The prospect of microgrids being employed by utilities is also high, as research activities gain pace through utility networks.
"Increasing focus on renewable energy in the energy mix and its integration is lending momentum to the adoption of microgrids on a global scale," said Frost & Sullivan Energy and Environment Industry Manager Suba Arunkumar. "Uptake has been steady in various fields, including military, industrial, institutional and off-grid applications."
However, integrating microgrids into existing systems is an expensive task and remains a challenge. The proliferation of custom interfaces adds to the cost of the system. To overcome these barriers, institutions and universities across Europe are building microgrid networks for field tests and analysis. The large value chain of participants actively contributing to microgrid development will further fuel a market boom beyond 2015.
"By the same token, since a microgrid deployment involves many different participants, the scope for expansion for players across the whole value chain is immense," noted Arunkumar. "First-mover advantage will be prominent for participants venturing into the market within the short term."
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