North America Now Top Microgrid Market due to Installations by Businesses

April 23, 2020
North America is now the top microgrid market, largely due to installation of commercial & industrial (C&I) microgrids, according to a new report by Guidehouse Insights, previously Navigant Research.

North America is now the top microgrid market, largely due to installation of commercial & industrial (C&I) microgrids, according to a new report by Guidehouse Insights, previously Navigant Research.

An example of a business microgrid in the US: King’s Plaza in Brooklyn, NY. Photo courtesy of project developer, Veolia

The report found 6,610 microgrids projects worldwide, representing 31,784.6 MW of capacity, as of the first quarter of this year.

North America represents 36.3% of the capacity, putting it ahead of Asia Pacific, the previous top microgrid market. 

“North America’s push for the top spot as the global capacity leader is due to a large quantity of fossil-based commercial and industrial (C&I) system additions being deployed as resiliency solutions,” said Shayne Willette, research analyst with Guidehouse Insights. “This contrasts with last year’s findings, which showed a large amount of rural electrification projects in Asia Pacific and the Middle East & Africa.”

The third place market is Latin America, according to the Microgrid Deployment Tracker 1Q20, which looks at grid-tied and remote microgrid projects proposed, in planning or already deployed in six regions worldwide.

The researchers also examine microgrids by market segment: C&I (business), community, utility distribution, institutional/campus, military, remote, and direct current.

The business sector appears to be adopting microgrids at a rapid clip. Among new entries globally, the C&I sector accounts for 85.8%.

Remote microgrids, however, continue to be the largest overall segment of microgrids worldwide at 36% or 11,452.2 MW, followed by C&I microgrids at 29.1% or 9,263.9 MW. Together, the two segments represent 65% of  the microgrid market. 

In all, Guidehouse added 2,179 new entries, a total of 5,479.7 MW, to the tracker, which it updates semi-annually. The new entries represent projects identified for the first time by Guidehouse, but they are not necessarily new projects.

The report also found continued growth in the energy-as-a-service microgrid model, a third-party ownership approach that spares customers from upfront capital costs. The model now represents 87% of new entries, according to the report. 

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About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded RealEnergyWriters.com, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

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