Shipments of satellite-based communications nodes used for smart-grid applications are forecast to more than quadruple between now and 2020, according to a new study from Pike Research.
The market-research company expects node shipments to rise from about 11,500 in 2012 to nearly 48,000 by 2020.
Satellite communications are becoming an increasingly viable option for smart-grid applications involving substation automation, remote monitoring and the mobile workforce.
“In order to bring smart grid functionality and all of its benefits to sparsely populated geographies, satellite communications represent a clear path forward,” said Carol Stimmel, a director at Pike Research.
“What’s more, as a non-terrestrial-based network, satellite communications may be the only solution to keep the grid connected or bring it back online rapidly in cases of natural (or manmade) disasters,” she said. “Looking ahead, as satellite technology advances and emerging markets bring electric service to underserved areas, satellite appears to be well-positioned to play a growing role.”
Stimmel believes satellite communications will play an important role in the expansion of smart grids and the spread of renewable distributed generation facilities.
Importantly, because it offers ubiquitous coverage and relatively low equipment costs, satellite technology can be used to link remote wind and solar sites into larger networks both quickly and inexpensively.