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According to a new report from Navigant Research, revenue from deployments of microgrids will be just under $10 billion in 2013, rising to more than $40 billion annually by 2020.

"At this point in time, microgrids can provide a quality and diversity of services that incumbent utilities have been unable to match," says Peter Asmus, principal research analyst for Navigant Research. "While utilities have shown institutional biases against the entire concept of microgrids for decades, extreme weather events and the growing recognition of microgrids as potential sources of demand response resources are building engineering and cultural support for these systems in a variety of settings."

Navigant Research says that with dozens of pilot programs having been launched globally, the microgrid market is moving into full-scale commercialization. Driven by falling costs for solar photovoltaic systems and the easing of prohibitions against the operation of distributed generation assets during times of grid stress, the adoption of microgrids will accelerate as awareness of - and confidence in - the platform's capabilities grows.

The less reliable the incumbent power grid performs, the greater the interest in applying smart grid platforms such as microgrids, to help solve the problem, according to Navigant Research. Regions of the world such as the U.S., where grid reliability is diminishing rather than increasing, are currently hotspots for microgrid development, according to the report. The high cost of diesel fuel for electricity generation in remote regions of the world is also a major factor in adoption of microgrid technology.

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