Microgrid Enabling Technologies

Microgrids are beginning to move more into the mainstream of the power generation and distribution industry, with greenfield projects that include necessary (and quite substantial) investments in distributed generation (DG). Going forward, new microgrids will increasingly rely not only upon new DG installations, but also on other microgrid enabling technologies, including smart islanding inverters, advanced energy storage, internal forms of automated demand response (ADR), and other technologies. Pike Research views the microgrid as a building block of the ultimate smart grid designed to serve the needs of energy producers, consumers, and distribution utilities. As such, these enabling technologies will be critical to the success of smart grid projects in both mature markets and developing economies.

With the exception of ADR, all of the enabling technology components profiled in this report show continued growth, with the various forms of distributed generation (combined heat and power, fuel cells, solar photovoltaic (PV), and distributed wind) showing the largest capacity growth and revenue. Pike Research’s analysis also concludes that microgrids are among the best near-term markets for advanced energy storage, and will help increase demand for smart bi-directional inverters that can perform the islanding function. By far the largest investments in microgrid enabling technologies are in different forms of DG, including CHP, fuel cells, solar PV, and different forms of distributed wind. Combined, these four technologies will total more than 3,978 megawatts (MW) of new generation capacity valued at more than $12.7 billion in vendor revenues in 2018.

This Pike Research report provides a detailed analysis of the technologies necessary to create a microgrid. It also quantifies sales of the most vital technologies that will enable the microgrid market to grow, whether those systems are grid-tied or remote, and whether they utilize alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC). The report also includes SWOT analyses of the major enabling technologies for microgrids, along with profiles of the key players in the emerging microgrid sector. Market forecasts for the major enabling technologies, segmented by world region, are provided through 2018.

Key Questions Addressed:
  • Which smart grid technologies will benefit most from microgrid deployments?
  • Which technology will emerge as the leading generation technology of choice for microgrids?
  • Why are islanding inverters mandatory for virtually all microgrid applications?
  • What does the behind-the-meter market for advanced energy storage look like?
  • What role will automated demand response play in the evolution of microgrids, and why will sales decline in North America and Europe over the 6 year forecast period?
  • What will be the implications of investments in controls software for successful microgrid deployments in the future?
  • Which companies will be key players in the emerging microgrid sector?
  • What are the time horizons for commercialization of key microgrid-enabling technologies?