US: Solar to account for 24% of cumulative microgrid capacity by 2020


Of the 2.8 GW of cumulative microgrid capacity in the U.S. predicted by 2020, solar is expected to account for 680 MW, according to GTM Research’s latest report, "North American Microgrids 2015: Advancing Beyond Local Energy Optimization."

"As microgrids increasingly emerge as a PV integration strategy, the share of solar will grow significantly over the next five years," writes GTM. It calculates growth of 1,190% between the end of 2015 – where forecast solar capacity is expected to be under 50 MW, or 4% of generation capacity – and 2020.

Overall, operational microgrid capacity is set to comprise 26%, or 734 MW, of renewables; and over 54% of annually commissioned microgrid capacity. Currently, renewables account for just 6%.

Battery storage solutions, meanwhile, are currently integrated into 44% of microgrids.

Cumulative microgrid investment is predicted to reach over US$3.5 billion by 2020. At $1.4 billion, generation procurement will comprise 40% of this, says GTM. Distribution, enhancements, switching and protection will account for $706 million, it adds, and controller and modeling $530 million.

"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," writes the research company.