Navigant Research: No Clear Leader In Microgrid Controls Market

A recent Leaderboard Report from Navigant Research examines the strategy and execution of 15 leading project developers/integrators of microgrid controls platforms, including vendor profiles and rankings, providing an objective assessment of these companies’ relative strengths and weaknesses in the market.

Of the 15 companies profiled in this Leaderboard Report, three emerged as Market Leaders and the other 12 followed closely as Contenders. Competition among vendors is close, according to the report, as all 15 vendors profiled fell within 20 points of one another. According to the report, Schneider Electric, Optimal Power Solutions, and Princeton Power Systems lead the microgrid controls market in terms of strategy and execution.

courtesy Navigant Research
courtesy Navigant Research

As utilities become more curious about the technology’s applications and potential business models, the list of companies entering the microgrid controls space continues to grow. Currently, the most successful companies in this market feature robust project portfolios, have highly functional microgrid controllers, and have developed ways to monetize these solutions.

As Navigant notes, one of the key compelling features of a grid-tied microgrid is its ability to separate and isolate itself from a utility’s distribution system during brownouts or blackouts (its islanding ability). Another is its ability to integrate distributed energy resources (DER) into clusters that can then provide greater value, such as integrating microgrid services into market operations. This is the focus of private investments in microgrids in mature economies. Under today’s grid protocols, the vast majority of distributed generation (DG), whether renewable or fossil-fueled, must typically shut down during power outages, unless integrated with a transfer switch and/or energy storage device. As diverse DER make up a larger and larger percentage of the overall system’s resource base, including this new functionality is emerging as a major selling point.

“Companies both large and small are finding opportunities in the broad microgrid space, but the key determination in the controls developers/integrators market is the approach to optimizing a microgrid,” said Peter Asmus, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. “While competition is still wide open, the 15 companies included in this report all have a stake in how the market responds to technologies that allow disparate distributed energy resources to work together as a system, whether the microgrid is connected to a utility grid or is functioning in island mode.”

The report, Navigant Research Leaderboard Report: Microgrid Controls, examines the strategy and execution of 15 project developers/integrators with microgrid controls platforms and rates them on 12 criteria. Using Navigant Research’s proprietary Leaderboard methodology, vendors are profiled and ranked with the goal of providing industry participants an objective assessment of these companies’ relative strengths and weaknesses in the global microgrid controls market. All of the companies rated are positioned to emerge as market leaders, as no single company dominates this market.

An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website (registration required).