At its essence, a nanogrid is simply a small microgrid, typically serving a single building or a single load. Nanogrids, however, have the ability to fill increasingly important niches within the larger power sector, serving as modular building blocks for energy services that support applications ranging from emergency power for commercial buildings to the provision of basic electricity services for people living in extreme poverty. According to a new report from Navigant Research, worldwide vendor revenue from nanogrids will grow from $37.8 billion annually in 2014 to $59.5 billion in 2023.
Though smaller in size than microgrids, nanogrids represent a larger market opportunity because they are, generally speaking, less challenging to the status quo and less subject to the technological challenges facing larger distribution networks that assimilate diverse distributed energy resources, says Peter Asmus, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. While North America is the leading region for microgrids, the largest and fastest growing nanogrid markets today are remote systems operating in the developing countries of Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa.
Perhaps the most innovative and radical interpretation of nanogrids, according to the report, are grid-tied systems that incorporate electric vehicles (EVs), in order to provide emergency energy services directly to buildings or to allow building owners to reduce utility peak demand charges. Just as EVs can provide ancillary services to both the larger utility grid and microgrids, they have perhaps an even greater potential to serve as storage or electrical supply to individual buildings.
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