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Distributed Generation Capacity of Microgrids to Quintuple by 2018

A new report from Pike Research finds that the total worldwide capacity of distributed generation contained in microgrids is expected to more than quintuple by 2018, growing from 764 megawatts (MW) in 2012 to nearly 4,000 MW in 2018.

“Distributed generation assets are the foundation of any microgrid,” says senior research analyst Peter Asmus.  “Although the majority of DG today is in the form of fossil fuel-based systems, primarily diesel generators, recent growth rates confirm that the fastest-growing distributed power generation technologies are combined heat and power and solar photovoltaic systems, thanks to steep drops in prices for natural gas and solar PV panels.”

In short, distributed generation is the generation of electricity from a collection of small energy sources. This is especially relevant in the growing age of renewable energies, where multiple turbines or photovoltaic panels source the electrical generation.

A microgrid is the ultimate end of distributed generation, creating a localised grid of electricity for a community or similar collection of needs.

For more information on the mechanics behind distributed generation and microgrids, check out the fantastic How Stuff Works post on Microgrids.

The report, entitled “Microgrid Enabling Technologies,” provides a detailed analysis of the technologies necessary to create a microgrid, as well as quantifying sales of the most vital technologies. The report addressed several key questions:

  • 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?

An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Pike Research website.

Source: Pike Research
Image Credit: Flowtrack, with artwork by Alfred Bonnanno

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