North America leads world in microgrid deployments

Although microgrids are a global phenomenon, geographic regions vary widely in terms of the investment, development, and deployment of microgrid projects. As new vendors continue to enter this space and previously undiscovered projects come to the fore, the robustness of the microgrid sector becomes increasingly clear.

According to a new tracker report from Navigant Research, North America is still the world’s leading market for microgrids, with a planned, proposed and deployed capacity of 2.7 GW.

“This tracker identifies more than 600 microgrid project entries, underscoring the fact that utility business models will need to accommodate a growing reliance upon distributed energy resources,” says Peter Asmus, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. “While subsidies for renewable energy are waning in several key markets, the need for new aggregation and optimization platforms and schemes will continue to grow. Microgrids are often the best solution to a variety of environmental and economic challenges.”

In terms of currently operating microgrids, global capacity stands at 2.3 GW as of the fourth quarter of 2013. In the previous edition of the tracker, the community/utility segment had the largest increase in capacity, but in this iteration, the global remote segment leads in new capacity additions with 195 MW. These additions reflect the remote microgrid market’s increasing visibility.

The study identifies 41 new projects in the community/utility segment, which represents the greatest increase in the number of grid-connected projects in the fourth quarter of 2013.

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