Revenue Up for Northern Power Systems as it Pushes into Microgrid Market

Nov. 15, 2014
Northern Power Systems, a 40-year old wind turbine company, is finding a new market for its wares in the emerging microgrid and distributed energy industry.

Northern Power Systems, a 40-year old wind turbine company, is finding a new market for its wares in the emerging microgrid and distributed energy industry.

The Vermont-based company recently signed on as an industry partner with microgrid software company Homer Energy, which offers the program to help key clients and collaborators connect with others in the microgrid market. Northern Power Systems sees its small-to-medium wind turbines as ideal for microgrids.

Founded in 1974, the company originally specialized in only small wind turbines. It was acquired by a group of investors in the summer of 2008, which provided more than $100 million in financing that allowed  Northern Power Systems to create an advanced permanent magnet direct-drive distributed wind turbine. The company also expanded to utility-scale turbines shortly after that, and continues to grow aggressively in the renewable microgrid market.

Northern Power Systems recently reported a 168 percent increase in revenue for third quarter of 2014 compared with the same period last year, a jump from $5.6 million to $15 million. The company had a product backlog of $47 million as of September 30, a 31 percent increase over the $36 million backlog of September 30, 2013.

Hawaii’s SkyGrid Energy is among the microgrids now using Northern Power Systems turbines.  The project provides power for a water pumping system used by off-grid farmers in North Kohala, Hawaii. The microgrid gets its primary power from the Northern Power NPS 100 wind turbine, which serves as an alternative to polluting diesel generation.

In addition to the wind turbine, SkyGrid Energy includes a battery bank and inverter which form the microgrid. The system can pump more than 30 million gallons of water annually and is being used to irrigate 400 acres of agricultural land and support 14 participating farms and agricultural businesses. It was partially funded by the Department of Energy through the Hawaii Renewable Energy Development Venture.

The developer of  SkyGrid Energy, Gen-X Energy Development, plans to replicate and deploy this microgrid model throughout Hawaii and globally.

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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.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

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