As alternative-energy sources become more commonplace, the need for infrastructure to support their expanding reach into mainstream energy markets is also on the rise. Microgrids have emerged as an ideal technology to meet this growing demand. A recent study confirms the interplay of the two trends.


According to Boulder, Colo.-based Navigant Research, microgrid deployments are evolving, and this market is becoming increasingly robust as new vendors enter. Navigant’s latest quarterly report confirms that the microgrids market is expanding worldwide and identifies generation technologies that are powering these microgrids, such as solar, wind and fuel cells.


“Microgrid Deployment Tracker 2Q13” identifies 3,793 megawatts (MW) of microgrid capacity throughout the world. That total, which is an increase of roughly 20 percent from 3,179 MW in the fourth quarter of 2012, represents 480 projects that are proposed, planned, under construction or operating.


Breaking down the global market by continents, North America remains the world’s leader, with 2,505 MW of microgrid capacity, or 66 percent of the global total. Not surprisingly, the North American numbers also increased by 55 projects, or 417 MW of capacity, since the fourth quarter of 2012. This total includes 1,459 MW of online capacity and more than 1,122 MW of planned/under development or proposed capacity.


Looking at the global segmentation of the microgrid market, institutional/university microgrids make up the largest share with 1,021 MW. They are followed in descending order by community/utility, remote systems, military and commercial/industrial.