2017 is shaping up as an important year of groundwork-laying for micro-grids in remote or un-electrified regions of the world. Storage companies and technology giants continue to lead the charge on solar and storage micro-grids while island communities are test-beds for piloting new systems and ideas. This Market Outlook takes a closer look at the latest micro-grid developments, along with other important milestones in Frontier Power during 1Q 2017.
Chinese PV equipment exported to Asia, Latin America and Africa (% of total exports)
Source: Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Sinoimex
- Market fundamentals and other developments in 1Q tended to support the economics of small-scale clean energy systems. Diesel prices rose in several large emerging economies while policy developments in India provided hopes of further tailwinds. Developing countries are now buying the majority of PV exports from China.
- Energy storage companies such as Tesla, Fluidic Energy and Electro Power Systems continued to deploy micro-grid systems in 1Q 2017. For Tesla, island micro-grids represent 36% of the company’s total power storage capacity deployed to date as tracked by BNEF.
- Other technology giants have appeared more prominently on the micro-grid map recently, including Schneider and Engie, who agreed to work towards improving energy access in Southeast Asia. Microsoft and Facebook were among the founding partners of a ‘Micro-Grid Investment Accelerator’ aiming to raise $50 million. The vehicle was seed-funded with an undisclosed amount by the social media giant, amid announcements that the company is also investing in telecom and payments infrastructure in emerging markets.
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