According to GTM Research’s latest report, North American Microgrids 2015: Advancing Beyond Local Energy Optimization, cumulative investments in U.S. microgrids from 2015 through 2020 will surpass $3.5 billion. By then, the U.S. will be home to an estimated 2.8 gigawatts of total microgrid capacity, a 127 percent cumulative capacity increase relative to 2015 numbers.

GTM Research forecasts that generation procurement will account for 40 percent of the total microgrid investment during the period. Fuel-based generators represent nearly all generation to date, but renewables are expected to grow by more than tenfold (to 730 megawatts) to account for 26 percent of total microgrid capacity by 2020.

FIGURE: U.S. Microgrid Market Potential by Investment Segment, 2015-2020

Source: GTM Research's report North American Microgrids 2015

Other investments in the form of distributed grid enhancements, switching and protection, project development, siting and permitting, and energy-efficiency upgrades will make up the balance of project investment, as customers look to enhance reliability, reduce energy bills, and provide new grid services.

The new report contains descriptions of over 100 vendors in the microgrid space involved in 124 operational and 92 planned U.S. microgrid projects. Vendors range from investors to technology firms to developers.

FIGURE: Microgrid Vendor Taxonomy

Source: GTM Research's report North American Microgrids 2015

While many vendors are currently competing for existing microgrid RFPs, the report notes that strategic partnership ecosystems are emerging. Advocacy for the market is also increasing as industry alliances like the Microgrid Resources Council and the Microgrid Alliance mature. 

“Factors such as increasing customer demands, technological maturity, the decreasing price of renewables, and shifting regulations are driving the transformation of the microgrid market,” noted Senior Grid Analyst Omar Saadeh. “This transformation is creating viable, economic solutions for end customers looking to attain energy surety, as well as opportunities for vendors to expand the addressable market to new customer classes.”

“As barriers are overcome, projects that have a connection to public safety, business continuity and grid modernization are driving the next growth phase of the microgrid market,” added Saadeh.

Select key findings from the report

  • Cumulative U.S. microgrid investments will surpass $3.5 billion from 2015 through 2020
  • Cumulative U.S. microgrid capacity will reach 2.8 gigawatts in 2020
  • By 2020, renewables will make up 26 percent of overall U.S. microgrid capacity
  • 44 percent of operational microgrids integrate batterystorage
  • Approximately half of operational microgrids include 1 megawatt or less of generation capacity
  • Over 80 percent of today’s operational microgrid generation capacity is distributed among just seven states

For more information, visit the report page here.

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