A microgrid is a modern small-scale electricity system used to generate, distribute and regulate the flow of electrical power. It includes distributed energy resources and multiple loads which enable it to interconnect with other electrical grids as well as operate in a parallel power generation environment. Microgrids can be used to generate power from both renewable and non-renewable energy sources. There are different types of microgrids. The first one is true microgrid or customer microgrid, which is self-governed, has a regulatory structure and is compatible with the current technology. The second type is utility or community microgrid or milligrid which involves a division of regulated grid. The third variety is virtual microgrid or grid. It covers multiple sites’ distributed energy resources (DER) and are coordinated in a manner such that they can be presented as a single unit to the grid.
Around the world, governments are taking initiatives in setting up solar, bio power and wind energy farms, and increasingly concentrating on renewable energy resource based microgrids. Increased requirement of enhanced technology for power generation and distribution, growing industrialization, government initiatives towards green energy, and a demand for secure and consistent power supply are some of the factors driving the growth of microgrid market.
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However, monetary obstructions, complication in land acquisition and registration of land for solar PV installation in rural areas, high primary cost of installation, huge investment required for integrating existing systems with microgrid, technological barriers etc. are some of the aspects holding back the microgrid market in some regions.
The microgrid market can be segmented into verticals, technology and type. By verticals, the market can be categorized into public sector, healthcare, telecom and manufacturing. On the basis of technology, the market can be divided into various categories such as by power and component technology. By type, microgrid market is segmented into off-grid, connected grid and hybrid grid.
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The microgrid market is expected to be a multi-billion-dollar market and to grow at a significant rate during the forecast period, from 2014 to 2020. At present, the market is led by North America owing to growing industrialization and electrification. However, it is expected to witness a huge potential in emerging economies of Asia-Pacific regions, such as India, China and Australia.
Introduction of advanced solutions, collaboration with other organizations, joint ventures/partnerships, and acquisitions & mergers are a few strategies followed by key players operating in Microgrid market, in order to outperform their competitors. For example, Toshiba Corporation acquired Consert Inc. in 2013, in order to improve their distribution services and widen their global presence and customer base. Additionally, in November 2014, HOMER Energy LLC introduced HOMER Pro software, an upgraded version of their HOMER software, to set a global standard for Microgrid design and analysis at initial stage. Further, its analysis tool mainly focuses on hybrid microgrids that are combined with multiple storage and renewable energy resources.
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Some of the key players in this market include Lockheed Martin Corporation, ZBB Energy Corporation, ABB Ltd., GE Digital Energy, Power Analytics Corporation, Consert Inc., Viridity Energy, Inc., S&C Electric Company, Chevron Energy, Toshiba Corporation, HOMER Energy LLC, Honeywell International Inc. Microgrid Energy LLC and Siemens among others.