Asia Pacific continues to lead the world in microgrid deployment with more than 10GW of capacity, announced Navigant Research on July 16 following the publication of the latest edition of its Microgrid Deployment Tracker 2Q18.
The report identified 239 new grid-tied and remote microgrid projects — representing 96MW of capacity — in all stages of development across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Middle East & Africa.
The report recognized a total of 2,000 microgrid projects representing 25GW of operating, under development, and proposed microgrid capacity.
North America is second in terms of capacity with 8GW, despite deploying more than double the number of tracked entries — 1,105 — than Asia Pacific.
In part, this is because data availability on individual projects is better in North America than in the Asia Pacific region, Jonathan de Villier, research analyst with Navigant Research, told ESJ.
“For example, China has some major microgrid mandates, but details on the individual projects have been difficult to come by and verify,” he said.
Some projects in Asia Pacific are also smaller, for example, in India many of the microgrids are at the kW scale, Peter Asmus, principal research analyst with Navigant Research told ESJ.
Asmus said: “In China, large industrial scale microgrids are being developed. As has been the case with solar PV, China tends to roll out large-scale deployments.
“In other markets, such as Australia, we are also seeing larger scale remote microgrids for mining and other industrial applications which can be 50MW or even 100MW in size.
“These remote mines previously relied on diesel generation but are looking to incorporate solar, wind and batteries since their costs have come down dramatically.”
However, while Asia Pacific and North America accounted for almost three-quarters of all microgrid capacity in the tracker, there has been a significant shift in Latin America with 364MW added capacity.
De Villier said: “There are two trends at work. An emphasis on resilience during the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico has definitely helped; Puerto Rico has been explicit about making microgrids a part of the solution, and vendors around the world have been happy to seize that opportunity.
“A second trend is that microgrids are becoming increasingly cost-effective as a means of expanding electricity access globally—particularly through remote (not grid-connected) microgrids.
“That’s a trend that has been developing for several years. Beyond Puerto Rico, the Caribbean is probably the best overall market for remote microgrids in Latin America due to its weak grid infrastructure.”
De Villier said the biggest microgrid trend at the moment was in the remote segment, which continues to grow rapidly as installation costs decrease and new business models develop such as pay as you go that unlock new markets for microgrid technology.
“We forecast that the leading business model to emerge over the next 10 years will be forms of energy-as-a-service, which would include pay-as-you-go, as well as programs such as microgrids-as-a-service being offered by Schneider Electric,” he said.
For the first time, the tracker including the core business models — energy as a service, government financing, owner financing, utility rate base for projects deployed between 2015 and 2017.