The massive upheavals that have buffeted the electrical distribution sector are making a simple idea – the microgrid – more potent and valuable than ever.
The establishment of islands of electrical generation, which are connected or independent of the main grid – or which, at various times, can switch – is being used more frequently because it has more use cases and a wider variety of sponsors, according a study by GTM Research.
Microgrids’ usual standbys include isolated rural and island communities. It is retaining those users and gaining traction with universities, the military, public institutions and the commercial and industrial sectors, according to Omar Saadeh, a Senior Analyst at GTM and one of the report’s authors.
“U.S. Microgrids 2016: Market Drivers, Analysis and Forecasts,” which was released last month, found strong overall numbers. The firm sees growth of 115.8 percent between 2016 and 2020. That equates to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.2 percent. There will be 380 megawatts (MW) of new capacity deployed this year. Eleven percent of that will be solar. The ramp up of annual deployments will reach 819 MW in 2020. Of that, 23 percent will be solar. By 2020, the overall market will reach 4.3 Gigawatts (GW) and the annual increase in installed microgrid capacity will be 115.8 percent.