Microgrids are gaining popularity as a result of their adaptability and expandability, the need for increased electricity reliability, the increased affordability of distributed energy resources (DERs) and grid intelligence devices, goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and other factors.
In a report for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
, Navigant Research leveraged data from its Microgrid Deployment Tracker on the size, resource mix, and vendors to understand the costs behind 80 microgrids located in North America.
“This is the most comprehensive cost summary of North American microgrids by market segment published to date,” said Peter Asmus, research director at Navigant Research, who worked on the project. “While a snapshot in time, it shows how costs vary between market segments.”
Where cost data was not available, the team deployed a revenue model that links back to market forecasts for each set of individual DER category. Next to a survey of controls costs, the experts also conducted extensive interviews with vendors and other stakeholders, with a focus on previously unaccounted for balance-of-system and so-called "soft" costs.
“It is hoped this Phase 1 analysis leads to subsequent research to see how DER costs continue to decline, and where federal funding should be best spent to accelerate the deployment of advanced, clean energy microgrids in the US,” said Asmus.