546 microgrids were installed in the U.S. during 2019, more than any previous year, according to new research from Wood Mackenzie.
Three organizations – PowerSecure, Enchanted Rock and The American Red Cross – installed a combined 67% of these projects. Though the systems installed by PowerSecure and Enchanted Rock were almost all basic, Red Cross’ systems rely on Blue Planet Energy’s energy storage solution. These are some of the first mass deployments of solar+storage at non-residential locations that are designed to power schools for more than 24 hours.
While 2019 saw a record number of microgrids systems installed, annual capacity was down 7% from 2018.
“Most of the systems installed last year were below 5 MW. This is part of a larger trend we are seeing. The market has shifted from being led by projects above 5 MW pre-2017 to smaller systems starting in 2017,” says Isaac Maze-Rothstein, a Wood Mackenzie research analyst and author of the report.
“Although most of the power distributed via microgrids came from fossil fuel generation last year, we believe that microgrids in the U.S. will become increasingly reliant on renewables technologies. Through our five-year forecast we are optimistic that solar, wind, hydropower and energy storage will grow to account for 35% of annually installed capacity by 2025,” he adds.
Despite 2019’s capacity beating Wood Mackenzie’s forecast expectations, the outlook through 2025 is more conservative due to coronavirus impacts. The first half of the year was the slowest start to the year for the microgrid market since 2016.
To access Wood Mackenzie’s U.S. microgrid forecast H1 2020: Coronavirus delays projects and impacts origination, click here.