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Worldwide vendor revenue from microgrids will grow from $4.3 billion in 2013 to $19.9 billion in 2020 in a base scenario, according to a new report from Navigant Research. Under a more aggressive scenario, revenue could reach $36.2 billion annually, the study concludes.

The research firm reports that during the last few years, the pace of microgrid deployment has accelerated rapidly around the world in a variety of application segments. Now, the industry is moving into the next phase of project development, focusing on how to develop projects on commercially viable terms.

Navigant says it has become clear that today's modern, digital economy requires a more advanced, robust and responsive power grid framework than what currently exists, especially in the U.S., the world's leading market for microgrids.

According to statistics from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 80% to 90% of all grid failures begin at the distribution level of electricity service. Navigant notes that this is the exact portion of the power system where microgrids operate, bolstering reliability from the bottom up, rather than from the top down.

"Microgrids are inching their way into the mainstream, with the focus of the market shifting from technology validation to questions surrounding the most promising business models," comments Peter Asmus, principal research analyst with Navigant. "The number of companies active in the space, and the range of applications of microgrids, are growing exponentially, yet there is little consensus on the pace of development in the coming years."

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