Growth Expectations in the Microgrid Market

Microgrid Knowledge asked industry leaders to forecast where the most growth will occur in 2023 and why. The following is the full text of the response from UL Solutions Global Microgrid Lead and the creator of HOMER® software, Peter Lilienthal.  Active in the field of renewable and distributed energy and energy efficiency since 1978, Lilienthal joined the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in 1990 where was one of the creators of NREL’s International and Village Power Programs. He originally developed HOMER software at NREL and then commercialized it in 2009. He holds a doctorate of management science and engineering from Stanford University.

Microgrid Knowledge: In which microgrid market segment do you expect to see the most growth in 2023 and why?

Peter Lilienthal: The Danish proverb goes: “It’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.” But clear signals in the microgrid industry point toward accelerated growth on a scale I have not seen since I first began developing HOMER software at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in 1992.

Broadly, I expect all microgrid segments to see substantial growth in 2023. There is overlap in the technologies used and their value propositions among the different segments; thus, growth in one segment will benefit all areas.

However, the newest use for microgrids — powering commercial and industrial (C&I) facilities and multi-family housing — stands poised for significant growth. The forces driving this market make its position strong. There is increasing recognition of the fragility of the electric grid in the United States (U.S.) and the need for resilience. Almost every C&I facility is a candidate for a solar-plus-storage microgrid, which can keep essential services operating without grid power or fuel deliveries. The financial incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 also will spur this segment.  

The other big driver for microgrids is the rapid adoption of electric vehicles. Electric power grids in the U.S. cannot accommodate fast chargers in most locations. Building the needed grid capacity will take considerable time and funding. Since additional capacity won’t be available soon, microgrids are needed to power fast chargers. Plus, ambitious decarbonization goals require substantially more renewable microgrid deployments.  

One thing is certain: the energy supply for the future is being built today and will include microgrids. Given the large investment required, it’s critical to use modeling tools to size systems correctly, optimize economics and maximize value.   Meanwhile, the larger vehicle batteries currently being deployed can have a longer life than the vehicle itself. The next big game changer may be finding additional value from vehicle batteries. 

Read the Microgrid Knowledge article: An Inside Look at the Microgrid Market from Those Making It Happen.

Join us for Microgrid 2023, May 16-17, 2023. HOMER Software founder, Peter Lilienthal, will co-present with Geoff Oxnam, the CEO and Founder of American Microgrid Solutions. They will present ‘Resilience Hubs: powering energy equity in climate disasters and year-round’ during the session on “Fending Off Climate Disasters with Microgrids.”

Use code GOLD15 when registering to save 15% on your conference pass here.

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