Published on May 11th, 2017 | by Joshua S Hill0
2017 Is Shaping Up To Be An Important Year For Microgrids In Remote Countries
May 11th, 2017 by Joshua S Hill
2017 could be a big year for the development of microgrids in remote and non-electrified regions and countries, with storage companies and technology behemoths leading the way on installing and investing in storage microgrids and solar for regional and island countries and communities.
A new report published by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) earlier this month highlighted the growing trend currently in play in the microgrid sector — specifically the combination of solar with storage microgrids. According to Bloomberg’s 2Q 2017 Frontier Power Market Outlook, “Market fundamentals and other developments in 1Q tended to support the economics of small-scale clean energy systems.” Specifically, several large emerging countries reliant upon diesel generators encountered increased diesel prices, and policy developments in India are believed to be further increasing the value of solar with storage microgrids. As a result, BNEF concludes that developing countries are now responsible for purchasing the majority of solar PV exports from China.
Chinese PV equipment exported to Asia, Latin America and Africa (% of total exports)
The deployment of island microgrid systems has also increased pace, with energy storage companies such as Tesla, Fluidic Energy, and Electro Power Systems continuing to deploy significant capacity in the first quarter. Specifically, Tesla’s island microgrids represent 36% of the company’s total power storage capacity deployed to date.
In fact, numerous new project announcements have been made over the past six months, while several existing projects integrated new sources of energy generation and storage. Numerous commitments were made by outside parties — such as the International Renewable Energy Agency, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, Schneider and Engie, and Microsoft and Facebook — have contributed to accelerating the development and deployment of microgrids across the Asia Pacific region.
Island micro-grid projects announced in Indian/Pacific Ocean region during 4Q 2016 – 1Q 2017
Further west, the evolution of distributed energy in India has been given a boost by two separate shifts — the recently announced 2017-18 budget, and a decisive win by the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) in parliamentary elections in Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous but also one of its poorest states. According to Bloomberg, both of these developments have the opportunity to boost policy support for India’s off-grid and rooftop energy market and improve the reliability of the country’s power supply.