North America Now Top Microgrid Market due to Installations by Businesses

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North America is now the top microgrid market, largely due to installation of commercial & industrial (C&I) microgrids, according to a new report by Guidehouse Insights, previously Navigant Research.

microgrid market

An example of a business microgrid in the US: King’s Plaza in Brooklyn, NY. Photo courtesy of project developer, Veolia

The report found 6,610 microgrids projects worldwide, representing 31,784.6 MW of capacity, as of the first quarter of this year.

North America represents 36.3% of the capacity, putting it ahead of Asia Pacific, the previous top microgrid market. 

“North America’s push for the top spot as the global capacity leader is due to a large quantity of fossil-based commercial and industrial (C&I) system additions being deployed as resiliency solutions,” said Shayne Willette, research analyst with Guidehouse Insights. “This contrasts with last year’s findings, which showed a large amount of rural electrification projects in Asia Pacific and the Middle East & Africa.”

The third place market is Latin America, according to the Microgrid Deployment Tracker 1Q20, which looks at grid-tied and remote microgrid projects proposed, in planning or already deployed in six regions worldwide.

The researchers also examine microgrids by market segment: C&I (business), community, utility distribution, institutional/campus, military, remote, and direct current.

The business sector appears to be adopting microgrids at a rapid clip. Among new entries globally, the C&I sector accounts for 85.8%.

Remote microgrids, however, continue to be the largest overall segment of microgrids worldwide at 36% or 11,452.2 MW, followed by C&I microgrids at 29.1% or 9,263.9 MW. Together, the two segments represent 65% of  the microgrid market. 

In all, Guidehouse added 2,179 new entries, a total of 5,479.7 MW, to the tracker, which it updates semi-annually. The new entries represent projects identified for the first time by Guidehouse, but they are not necessarily new projects.

The report also found continued growth in the energy-as-a-service microgrid model, a third-party ownership approach that spares customers from upfront capital costs. The model now represents 87% of new entries, according to the report. 

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of She has been writing about energy for more than three decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.


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