- U.S. microgrid capacity, now at 1,051 megawatts, is forecast to reach approximately 1,843 megawatts by the end of 2017, according to GTM Research’s Microgrids 2014: The Evolution of Localized Energy Optimization.
- The primary locations of U.S. microgrids to date have been military bases and remote communities but a new wave of adoption is expected from cities, communities, and public institutions, in anticipation of extreme weather and other events that could cause the larger transmission and distribution system to go down.
- Microgrid growth will drive the market for new infrastructure, taking it from $133 million in 2014 to $671 million in 2017, according to GTM Research, as the cumulative microgrid market goes to over $3 billion by 2018.
GTM Research analyst/report author Magdalena Klemun: “Today, microgrids interconnect generators at schools, hospitals and fire stations, but in the future, they might soon be extended to include gas stations, supermarkets and other private-sector entities interested in maintaining business continuity during outages.”
The predicted microgrid market growth will necessitate cooperation between the infrastructure, energy generation, and energy storage sectors.
Over 90% of present microgrid capacity runs on fossil fuels like natural gas and diesel but solar PV will play an increasing role as microgrids emerge as a PV grid integration strategy as solar PV storage capacity increases and reliability becomes a larger concern.
Klemun: “For microgrids to truly gain traction, substantial regulatory overhauls will be necessary to re-evaluate utility franchise rights, as well as to rethink the definition and regulation of electric utilities…”