Global Microgrid Market: Snapshot

Rapid industrialization and economic development across most parts of the world has necessitated increased energy production, which is one of the key growth drivers of the global microgrid market. Governments across the world are engaging in sustainable energy development pursuits for long-term energy security. The use of microgrids for power generation using renewable energy sources is a viable means for energy security in the long-run that keeps with environmental regulations as well.

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A microgrid not only enables local electricity generation and energy storage but also enables power consuming devices to function independently from the macro-grid. Thus, microgrids can be installed in remote locations, which are not connected to the main loop. Microgrids are primarily used by military forces, universities, and commercial and industrial users for primary power needs or for backup power. Increased power quality and reliability are some key advantages of microgrids over macro-grids.
Microgrids provide several economic, environmental, technical, and social benefits, which is expected to further stimulate the growth of microgrids market. Improved power quality and reliability, improved energy efficiency, and reduced emissions are some of the economic and technical benefits provided by microgrids. A shift towards renewable energy sources is one of the key environmental benefits that can be achieved through the deployment of microgrids. Electrification of remote or underdeveloped areas and set-up of new research and development projects that creates job opportunities are some of the social benefits of microgrids.

On the flip side, absence of adequate regulatory framework and increasing cost of development of microgrid along with operational challenges are negatively impacting the growth of this market.

The global microgrid market is expected to rise at a whopping 20.70% CAGR from 2014 to 2020 for the market’s valuation to increase from US$9.8 bn in 2013 to US$35.1 bn by 2020.

Campus/Institutions Application Segment to Lead in Future

In term of product, remote (off-grid) and grid-tied (grid connected) are the segments of the microgrid market. Of the two, grid-tied microgrids are operational with or without connection to the main grid, while remote microgrids are autonomous systems designed for use in remote areas that lack proper infrastructure.

Key applications of microgrids include community/utility, defense/military, campus/institutions, commercial/industrial, and remote islands. Amongst these, the segment of campus/institutions is expected to lead the microgrid market over the forthcoming years. Government initiatives for promoting renewable energy sources for energy production is one of the major factors fuelling the growth of this segment. North America is expected to be the key region driving growth of defense and military segment. However, remote islands is expected to display the leading growth rate in the future.

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Heavy Investments for Energy Security Bodes Well for Asia Pacific and Europe Markets

On the basis of geography, the microgrid market is divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Rest of the World. Defense and military is expected to be the key end user of microgrids in North America. This is mainly due to the need for enhanced energy security and need for improved energy reliability within the defense and military sector of this region. Asia Pacific and Europe are expected to use microgrids on a large scale in the coming years. Increasing investments for restructuring energy mixes and favorable regulatory policies are expected to drive the demand for microgrids in these two regions.

Key players in the microgrid market include Chevron Corporation, GE Energy Management, Siemens AG, Power Analytics Corporation, and Pareto Energy. Some other players in this market include ABB, Honeywell International Inc., S&C Electric Company, Viridity Energy Inc., Echelon Corporation, Schneider Electric, Toshiba Corporation, and ZBB Energy Corporation.