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There are now more than 388 remote microgrid projects in operation, under development or proposed worldwide - almost as many as all other microgrid segments combined - according to a new tracker report by Navigant Research.

However, in terms of capacity, Navigant reports that the market is now led by the community/utility segment, with a total capacity of 1.11 GW as of the first quarter of this year. North America remains the global leader in terms of total microgrid capacity.

The research firm says that although most microgrids are technically retrofit projects, the systems have begun to move into the mainstream. Around the world, new vendors continue to enter the space with new projects and approaches. Navigant adds that microgrids, which can operate in isolation from or in the absence of the wider power grid, are particularly well suited for remote communities in the developing world, where regional and national power grids are often weak or nonexistent.

Navigant has identified a total of 4,393 MW of total microgrid capacity throughout the world, up from 4,148 MW in the previous update, released in the fourth quarter of 2013.

"While remote microgrids are proliferating rapidly, they tend to be quite small, often below 100 kW in size," explains Peter Asmus, principal research analyst with Navigant. "Community and utility microgrids, which include projects being developed by the grid operators themselves, can be as large as 60 or even 100 MW per system."

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