GTM Research's Grid Edge Executive Council members received a Q1 2014 Executive Briefing that outlines the U.S. microgrid landscape using data from our upcoming report, North American Microgrids 2014: The Evolution of Localized Energy Optimization.
According to the Quarterly Briefing, the current operational microgrid capacity is approximately 1 gigawatt, with the majority of the generation coming from non-renewable sources like natural gas and diesel. Solar PV constitutes just 3 percent of operational microgrid generation.
That's soon to change.
For microgrids in the planning and development stages, solar PV will generate a significantly larger share of electricity, although though there is still uncertainty about the proportion of proposed PV capacity that will operate in islanded mode. GTM Research analyst Magdalena Klemun writes, With evolving interconnection standards and decreasing battery prices, PV and storage integration for peak shaving is becoming a key parameter of the next-gen microgrid business case."
More than half of U.S. states have at least one microgrid project in operation, development, or in planning stages. Klemun cites Hawaii, California, and the Northeastern U.S. as microgrid hotspots. At the same time, California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and New York were all among the top ten in the state rankings for 2013 PV installations, according to the most recent Solar Market Insight report.
PV capacity growth and microgrid deployment will increasingly overlap, especially in areas with high PV penetration and increased distribution network control requirements. Even if the next wave of microgrids is largely CHP-based and reliability-oriented, these projects pave the way for microgrids that integrate a more diverse set of distributed energy resources, especially solar PV, said Klemun.
There are currently more than 80 microgrids in the United States, 61 per cent of which are operated by universities, research facilities or the military.
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