Smart grid as a service provides flexibility, reduces risk and cost, finds Navigant Research

by Brianna Crandall — March 20, 2017 — A new report from Navigant Research examines the global smart grid as a service (SGaaS) market, focusing on data services, cloud-based software, and fully managed services, while providing forecasts for managed distribution/substation automation, microgrids, distributed energy resources (DER) management, advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), demand response, home energy management (HEM), and analytics.

Historically, utilities have preferred to acquire their own physical assets and the software required to manage these assets, store all related data in-house, and use their own staff to perform associated business processes, points out the report. Today, however, utilities are increasingly turning to service-based delivery to help them take a more flexible approach to business processes, mitigating technology risks, and reducing costs while staying ahead of the competition.

According to the report, the global SGaaS market is expected to grow from $1.3 billion in 2016 to $6 billion in 2025.

Stuart Ravens, principal research analyst with Navigant Research, pointed out:

The monopoly business model allowed utilities to wait for technologies to mature before purchasing them, but with the increasing threat of competition, the potential profits from the Energy Cloud will not wait, and first-mover advantage will soon be the order of the day. A new, innovative future will require flexibility — such as the ability to scale up and down data center capacity or rapidly deploy software for product development or testing — which lends itself to cloud-based procurement.

The need for speedy time-to-market is anathema to many utilities, where historically there was an incentive to be second or third movers. According to the report, competition is becoming a more and more important driver for SGaaS.

The Smart Grid as a Service report, available for purchase on the Navigant Research Web site, analyzes the global SGaaS market, with a focus on three segments: data services, cloud-based software, and fully managed services. The study covers a number of smart grid functional areas and provides forecasts for managed distribution/substation automation, microgrids, DER management, AMI, demand response, HEM, and analytics.

Additional commentary is provided on virtual power plants and commercial building energy management. The report also examines the key technologies related to SGaaS, as well as the competitive landscape. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download.