Why there is No One Microgrid Business Model & Other Quick Microgrid News

Feb. 12, 2016
No single dominant microgrid business model has emerged yet, says Navigant Research, which presents 10 emerging models in its new report.

No single dominant microgrid business model has emerged yet, says  Navigant Research, which presents 10 emerging  models in a new report.

Because microgrids are modular, and of various configurations, it is almost impossible to calculate their overall return on investment, Navigant says. Hence, their lack of a single clear busines model.

“There is no single dominant microgrid business model, given the diversity of application segments and regulatory landscapes in different regions of the world,” says Peter Asmus, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. “Yet changes in the marketplace, including the power purchase agreement (PPA) and the prevalence of software as a service, are pointing in the direction of a few models as likely to become more common over time.”

The majority of the microgrids operating today have been pilot projects or experiments, and the industry is now moving into the next phase of project development, according to the report.

Microgrid growth requires more flexibile government regulation and public policy.

The report, Emerging Microgrid Business Models, is availble for a fee.   A free executive summary can be found on the Navigant Research website.

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The International District Energy Association (IDEA) and Green Business Certification (GBCI) are collaborating for more sustainable, efficient and resilient electricity and thermal grids through the Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal (PEER) program.

The announcement was made at the 29th Annual IDEA Campus Energy Conference, attended by more than 850 people.

Administered by GBCI, PEER is the driving force behind the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) vision to transform power systems and the nation’s first comprehensive, data-driven approach to evaluating and improving power system performance.

“IDEA is pleased to support greater uptake and deployment of PEER by our member systems, especially those exemplary campuses, like The University of Texas at Austin, that feature highly efficient and resilient district energy/combined heat and power systems,” said Rob Thornton, president and CEO of IDEA. “Electricity and energy markets are undergoing a fundamental shift to more distributed power generation away from large remote, inefficient central station generating facilities. PEER will help electricity providers evaluate, optimize and accelerate that transition to cleaner, more reliable energy supply.”

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Community solar projects are not microgrids. But they can be. And microgrid developers are looking into pairing the two. So it’s intersting to note that the Clean Energy Collective (CEC) has founded the the first national trade organization for community solar.

Called the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA), this organization will advocate on behalf of consumers, utilities, and developers w to expand access to clean, l community solar. Other founding members of the Coalition for Community Solar Access include Community Energy, EcoPlexus, Ethical Electric, First Solar, and Recurrent Energy.

“We took a lead role in crafting this coalition because community solar is poised to serve a large percentage of electricity customers throughout the country, and working together we can help accelerate this industry’s growth and assure this potential is achieved,” said Paul Spencer, Clean Energy Collective’s founder and CEO.

CEC estimates the market size for community-owned solar at more than 150 million customers, which is seven times larger than the maximum market potential for onsite solar. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that shared solar could represent as much as 49 percent of the distributed PV market by 2020.

Track news from Microgrid Knowledge on Twitter @MicrogridNews.

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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