Satellite-based communications node shipments for smart grids will quadruple by 2020, says Pike Research

Carol_Stimmel,Navigant Carol Stimmel, Navigant

Boulder, Colorado, USA (BUSINESS WIRE) — While alternative communications options are generally more practical and cost-effective for home area and neighbourhood area network smart grid applications, sometimes satellite communication is not only viable it may even be the only alternative. According to a new report from Pike Research, now a part of Navigant’s Energy Practice, this will lead to steady growth in the market for utility satellite communications.

As the smart grid market matures, applications like substation automation, distribution automation, advanced metering infrastructure backhaul, network redundancy, remote monitoring, and mobile workforce applications are all gaining increased attention from utility managers looking to wring more costs out of their business models.

Consequently, says Pike Research, shipments of satellite-based communications nodes for smart grid applications will more than quadruple by 2020. The study concludes that shipments will grow from 11,500 in 2012 to nearly 48,000 in 2020.

“In order to bring smart grid functionality and all of its benefits to sparsely populated geographies, satellite communications represent a clear path forward,” says research director, Carol Stimmel (pictured). “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 man-made) disasters. Looking ahead, as satellite technology advances and emerging markets bring electric service to under-served areas, satellite appears to be well positioned to play a growing role.”

Satellite communications will play a key enabling role in not only the expansion of the smart grid but also the spread of renewable distributed generation facilities, according to the report. Integrating the growing number of wind and solar microgrid sites into utilities’ overall communications networks often means reaching remote, rural areas. Satellite communications’ ubiquitous coverage and relatively low equipment costs can allow utilities to attach these sites to their communications network quickly and inexpensively.

Pike Research’s report, Satellite Communications for Smart Grid Applications, examines the economics and dynamics of satellite communications as it relates to smart grid deployments. The study provides an in-depth examination of market drivers, technology issues and standards, and the competitive landscape for smart grid networking. Detailed market forecasts are included for unit shipments and infrastructure and satellite service revenue, segmented by technology, application, and world region, through 2020. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Pike Research website.

Pike Research, which joined Navigant’s global Energy Practice on July 1, 2012, provides in-depth analysis of global clean technology markets. The team’s research methodology combines supply-side industry analysis, end-user primary research and demand assessment, and deep examination of technology trends, which are designed to provide a comprehensive view of the Smart Energy, Smart Grid, Smart Transportation, Smart Industry, and Smart Buildings sectors. Additional information about Pike Research can be found at

Navigant (NYSE: NCI) is a specialised, global expert services firm.

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