During the last few years, the consolidation of distributed energy resources (DER) has represented a significant component of the energy market. Initially, DER was used at the fringe of the market, where conventional power was difficult and expensive to provide. However, technology advances, business model innovation, changing regulations, and sustainability and resilience concerns have brought DER into the core of the future deployment of energy infrastructure. Encompassing a broad set of solutions that include systems and technologies designed to operate closer to customers on the electricity grid, the global proliferation of DER has begun to have a significant, and at times controversial, influence on the electricity grid and industry.
Rapidly expanding investment in DER represents a major shift from the centralized, one-way electrical grid. This growth has generated both concern and optimism throughout the power industry as regulators and grid operators work to understand the evolving landscape that is redefining the relationship between utilities and customers. The shift from centralized generation requires the use of innovative technologies and solutions on the part of grid operators, including advanced software and hardware that enable greater control and interoperability across heterogeneous grid elements that are key components of the Energy Cloud. According to Navigant Research, global DER capacity is expected to grow from 132.4 GW in 2017 to 528.4 GW in 2026.
This Navigant Research report provides a quantitative analysis of the global market for DER technologies and assesses the major market developments and technology trends. The technologies covered include distributed solar PV (<1 MW), small and medium wind turbines (<500 kW), microturbines, fuel cells, diesel and natural gas generator sets (<6 MW), distributed energy storage systems, microgrids, EV charging, demand response, and energy efficiency. Installed capacity and revenue forecasts in the commercial and industrial (C&I) and residential segments extend through 2026. This report also provides a comparison of DER and conventional generation deployments during the next decade.