The rapid worldwide growth of microgrids is in the process of going from speculation to reality. Microgrids are poised to experience dramatic growth globally, particularly in the commercial and industrial sector, according to recent Navigant reports. As one country after the other sets new goals for carbon reduction and renewable energy, the International Energy Agency reports that renewables are accounting for the majority of net new power capacity. They predict this trend will continue over the next five years, with solar PV as the dominant renewable technology. Hybrid renewable microgrids – as governments and corporations alike are discovering – are the best way to integrate high penetrations of these renewables into our existing electric grids. They are also the most environmentally sound way to bring power to those who currently have no energy access and to reduce diesel consumption in existing diesel microgrids.
But exactly where is microgrid development most active, and what types of specific systems are being considered? A new report series from HOMER Energy answers these questions with summaries of real data from microgrid modeling.
Real World Data from Real World Users
Engineers and energy planners in over 190 countries use HOMER software – the global standard for the design of distributed energy systems and microgrids – to determine whether distributed power is an appropriate solution for their energy needs and what those systems should look like. The collective wisdom of this dedicated group is a valuable resource that can be analyzed to understand a wide variety of issues including energy access, resiliency, renewable energy integration, carbon reduction, and other objectives.
HOMER Energy has just introduced a series of reports detailing the potential for distributed energy and microgrid development in selected countries around the world. Covering one country or region at a time, the reports include important details on energy infrastructure, the regulatory environment, and recent distributed energy development activity. HOMER Market Insight Reports draw their conclusions from over three years of data that reflect the collective activities of the worldwide customer base for the HOMER Energy software modeling products – HOMER Pro and HOMER Grid.
The 1.7 million model runs that have been produced by these HOMER users provide us with unique and targeted insights into early market activities, including the architecture of new energy systems that are in the planning phase, what types of equipment are under consideration, and what the energy needs are in different regions. Information from the HOMER database reveals richly detailed views of local market conditions, but has been aggregated and anonymized to protect project-level identity and information. Market Insight Reports also include a broader context of each country’s energy environment, legal and political context, technical capabilities, and important energy and economic trends.
Context for a Rapidly Evolving Marketplace
This product will provide a deep analysis of what is happening in the microgrid marketplace on a country by country basis. They will be invaluable to energy project developers, solar and microgrid engineering professionals, equipment vendors, planners, development institutions, and financial analysts. Accurate data will help policy makers design better programs and assist companies in deploying their resources more effectively. The reports will also help companies in the space identify new markets for distributed energy technologies and meet the needs of energy consumers more rapidly and efficiently.
Focus on the Philippines
We chose the Philippines as the subject of the first report because of its high level of microgrid activity and long history of distributed energy use. Here are some of the highlights from HOMER Market Insights Report: The Philippines
- An overview of the country’s transmission / distribution networks including maps, power characteristics, ownership information and relevant regulatory highlights.
- The country’s goals with respect to renewable energy, distributed energy development and specific microgrid initiatives.
- Detailed analysis of the country’s electric generation resource mix.
- Political insights on the impact and likely evolution of important regulatory schemes.
- A breakdown of the sizes and technologies for Philippine microgrid projects that were modeled using the HOMER Pro software. We can see for example that projects under consideration in the smaller electric load size ranges (<1 GWh/yr) are growing at the fastest rate; between late 2016 and early 2018, the number of these new projects under consideration more than doubled. The most common configuration is PV+Gen+Batt.
- A breakdown of the types of organizations that are using HOMER to model microgrid projects. Project developers, engineering service companies, equipment vendors, and finance organizations are the most active commercial HOMER users.
The Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI) – which has used the HOMER Pro software to model microgrid projects in the past – recently announced a large microgrid investment in the Province of Palawan, where energy access is still an important issue.This is consistent with our data which shows a large number of microgrid modeling projects for Palawan, so we believe it is a good predictor of future engineering and construction projects.