April 22, 2014. Over the next four years, distributed solar penetration will increase by more than 300% in the United States, straining local distribution infrastructure in more than a quarter of U.S. states. According to GTM Research's latest report, “Advanced Grid Power Electronics for High Penetration PV Integration 2014,” secondary distribution grid-control equipment, including power electronics-based solutions, represents the most cost-effective technical solution to these problems. The market for secondary power electronics equipment for PV integration will have a 134% compound annual growth rate over the next three years, reaching $320 million in 2017.
“Utility-owned power electronics offer a variety of services for utilities at a fraction of the cost of competing storage solutions,” said Ben Kellison, senior grid analyst at GTM Research. “These enable utilities to fine-tune unstable portions of the distribution grid, while allowing the bulk of the grid to operate using cheaper, more traditional technology.”
In addition to integrating higher penetrations of solar, secondary power electronics provide grid operators with hardware that can increase distribution grid efficiency through conservation voltage reduction, enhance control over power quality, and improve situational awareness.
“This variety of services enable utilities to leverage multiple value streams to increase their return on investment and improve customer service,” said Kellison. These services range from direct revenue applications from wholesale markets to soft qualitative benefits such as enhanced power quality and increased renewable carrying capacity. “Wide deployment of these technologies will usher in a new dynamic paradigm in the distribution of power,” added Kellison.
Software systems being developed by leading U.S. utilities are laying the groundwork for more cost-effective deployment of this equipment. The operation of these systems will allow targeted deployment of these technologies enabling the market for secondary distribution grid-control equipment to grow tenfold over the next four years alone.
To learn more about the “Advanced Grid Power Electronics for High Penetration PV Integration 2014” report, visit GTM Research.