Growing energy demand of developed as well as developing regions is a serious cause of concern worldwide. The conventional energy sources such as oil, natural gas and petroleum products will deplete sooner or later.
This has led to initiatives of conservation of energy resources and discovery of new alternate energy sources. The near future will witness more and more adoption of renewable and alternate sources of energy. Various alternate energy sources such as wind, tidal, solar and nuclear have been applied in recent years. Solar energy is one the most abundant energy source available on earth. Various energy needs can be fulfilled with applications of solar power and solar energy systems. Smart Solar technology is a result of similar kind of innovation and research. Smart solar technology is built upon existing solar power systems and it functions in sync with the current system. This technology helps to insert ‘smartness’ in existing solar energy systems. Smart grids improve operational activities of individual devices and solar installations. Smart solar systems assist in reduction of maintenance costs, stability of grid supply, optimization of performance and appropriate computing of distribution system. There is high demand for energy management and demand driven smart solutions as it prevents wastage and makes optimum use of available energy in a smart manner. This demand for smart solar power solutions is prevalent across all verticals and industries. The smart solar industry is constantly expanding vertically and horizontally. There have been ground breaking innovations in components, solutions, services and applications across all the verticals of smart solar system.
Global smart solar market can be segmented on the basis of smart solar solutions, smart solar services, smart solar components, smart solar applications and geographic location of smart solar system installations. The major components of smart solar system consist of smart metering devices, smart grids, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, radio frequency identification (RFID) and some others. These components assist in the processes of automated meter reading, energy monitoring as well as managing and analyzing energy production and consumption. Smart solar application is used for heating, cooling, producing steam, electricity and various other industrial, commercial and residential purposes. Various sectors such as healthcare, construction, transportation, agriculture, public utilities and many others have applied smart solar technology. The application of smart solar technology has also extended to various new verticals such as utility, government and public affairs, water treatment, education, logistics and distribution. Services such as consulting, construction, installation and management are offered for smart solar systems. Smart solar technology is widely adopted in regions such as North America, South and Central America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. The U.S.A, Spain, South Africa, Egypt, Iran, India and China are some of the nations which have largest initiatives for solar energy technology and smart solar systems. Asia Pacific and North America regions have a high potential growth for smart solar market.
Today’s global smart solar market is worth more than USD 7 billion and expected to grow around USD 16 billion till 2018. The introduction of improved technology is increasing the adoption of smart solar components, solutions and services across various verticals. There is a common objective of energy preservation, green energy adoption and pollution control on a global scale. These common intentions and concerns are increasing usage of smart solar technology as well as a shift to traditional solar energy systems as a whole. Rising electricity bills, positive social implications and environmental concerns coupled with latest technology and innovations are the driving factors for the fast adoption of smart solar systems on a global scale. In addition, cost controlling and investments by solar industry members are expected to boost global smart solar market growth in future. Although, high initial capital cost, product instability, inefficiency and lack of awareness could pose a threat to smart solar industry. The solar sector has been developing in recent years. Even the economies of nations are increasing rapidly which could offer new opportunities for smart solar industry. The smart solar global industry outlook is looking positive for upcoming years.
Some of the major players operating in smart solar industry are involved in smart solar products, solutions as well as consulting and management services. Some of the important players are ABB Schweiz AG, BPL Global Ltd., Echelon Inc., HCL Technologies Ltd., Itron Inc., Schneider Electric Inc., and SunPower Inc. Some other prominent players in smart solar industry are Silver Spring Networks Inc., Trilliant Holdings, Inc. and Urban Green Energy Inc.
The global smart solar market 2016-2020 report says one of the key trends for market growth will be increasing demand for solutions and services due to advances in technology and components, such as smart meters, solar simulators, and grid intelligent components, services and applications of the smart solar. Thus most of the vendors are focusing on providing complete solutions for smart solar i.e. from components to the services. Also, the rise in demand for energy necessitates the need of energy management solutions and demands response services to be integrated with the installations. Now solution services, such as accuracy of bill and record of consumption of energy, are in demand, which is fueling the smart solar market.
The analysts forecast global smart solar market to grow at a CAGR of 15.22% during the period 2016-2020. According to the smart solar market report, growing environmental concerns will be a key driver for market growth. CO2 emission is a major global concern for countries and companies. The US energy-related CO2 emission was 5,406 MMT in 2014. Combustion of fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil) for energy and transportation, certain industrial processes, and land use changes are some of the human activities that emit CO2. The primary source of CO2 emission in the US is power, transportation, and industrial sectors. If the world adopts the smart energy technologies (including smart solar) then CO2 emissions could be reduced by 15% globally.
In terms of geography, the Americas will dominate the smart energy market throughout the forecast period and will also account for about 40% of the total market share by 2020. Factors such as the rise in investments, the increase in solar capacity, and the growth in a number of solar power installations will aid in the growth of smart solar market in this region.
During 2015, the solutions segment accounted for about 60% of the total market share and dominated the industry. Solar generation is primarily supported by an SCADA system that can be driven from a remote terminal unit (RTU) or a programmable logic controller (PLC). The advances in demand response and automation techniques will fuel the growth of smart solar market in this segment.
The following companies are the key players in the global smart solar market: ABB, Echelon, GE Power & Water, Schneider Electric, and Siemens. Other prominent vendors in the market are: Itron, Landis+GYR, Sensus USA, Silver Spring Networks, Solarcity, Sunnova, Urban Green Energy (UGE) International, and Vivint Solar.
The smart solar market is estimated to grow from USD 6.47 Billion in 2015 to USD 13.26 Billion by 2020, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 15% during the forecast period. The deployment of smart solar solutions helps users to minimize their electricity expenses and increase the efficiency of solar components by real- time monitoring and communication. The report aims at estimating the market size and future growth potential of the market across different segments, such as solutions, services, applications, verticals, and regions. The base year considered for the study is 2014 and the market size forecast is from 2015 to 2020. With the increasing adoption of green energy and smart cities initiatives, the demand for smart solar solutions has grown tremendously across all the countries. Regulatory mandates across North America, Europe, and China are also driving this market. For the forecast period, smart solar market is expected to grow at a moderate pace. Presently, North America is the largest market for smart solar services.