The Electrical Contractor’s Practical Guide to Microgrid Development
In January 2021, ELECTRI International commissioned a research project from ProtoGen on microgrid development. A microgrid is a group of interconnected loads and DER within clearly defined electrical boundaries. It acts as a single controllable entity with respect to the grid and can operate in both grid-connected and island-modes. The North American market for microgrid-related DER is projected to grow at 15% CAGR to $8+ billion annually by 2029. Market growth is being driven by a range of well-understood megatrends including climate change adaptation, increasing threats of physical and cyberattack on public electrical infrastructure, demand for renewable energy and increased resilience, and the electrification of transportation and buildings. PV and energy storage are projected to be the clear leaders among DER technologies deployed within microgrids.
Microgrids and, more broadly, electrification represent enormous growth potential for electrical contractors (ECs), whose existing relationships, fundamental grasp of electricity and electrical construction, and commitment to quality and safety represent competitive advantages. The opportunity is too big and too important to cede to other industries. ECs can build on these advantages to identify, develop, and implement projects that lead to increased customer satisfaction and retention and greater profitability. First, they must better understand the marketplace and how to approach it.
This Guidebook is intended help ECs build organizational capacity on the topic of microgrids and to empower them to engage and bring along their customers. It is envisioned as a tool for active use by ECs who wish to explore or begin to develop microgrid projects. The Guidebook was developed using data and insights gathered from surveys and interviews, site visits, active project development, academic and industry white paper review, peer review, and input from educational experts. The content is divided into digestible pieces written in a simple and concise voice. This approach makes the guide appropriate for varied audiences including business developers, project managers, electricians, business owners and others.