U.S. to Double Microgrid Capacity by 2020
Microgrid capacity in the United States will more than double over the next five years, from 1,283 MW in 2015 to 2,855 MW in 2020, and more of that capacity will be supplied by renewable energy, according to GTM Research data released this week at Greentech’s Grid Edge Live conference.
“This trend signals a shift toward increasing commercial viability,” said senior analyst Omar Saadeh. “As the price of energy storage drops, the price of integrating renewables becomes substantially lower and the technology continues to mature—which will be happening over the next few years. We expect far greater adoption of microgrids by communities and corporations looking for electricity reliability.”
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Pyper reports that the U.S. military “has invested heavily to develop the technological capabilities of microgrids in recent years, viewing the independently operable grids as a way to maintain mission-critical loads and reduce energy use.” Although large, institutional users will still be at the centre of microgrid development, “the market is becoming more diverse,” she writes. “Microgrids are now gaining traction among commercial customers, as technologies located at the grid edge continue to get cheaper and the overall economic case improves.”
While fossil fuels currently supply 90% of microgrid capacity, against 6% for solar, Saadeh expects renewable generation to capture 26% of the market by 2020.