In a new report Navigant Research has reported that penetration rates of smart meters continue to climb, reaching nearly 39 percent in North America in 2012, and project the worldwide installed base of smart meters will grow from 313 million in 2013 to nearly 1.1 billion in 2022.
This is despite a cooling in the growth in the market during the last year, even though strong market drivers remain in place on which utilities can build a business case.
“It’s safe to say that the smart meter market has reached its first post-frenzy era – but this is a lull, not a permanent slowdown,” says Neil Strother, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “The one major exception is China, where the national 5-year plan involves not only new metering but also major upgrades to transmission systems, distribution networks, and generating capabilities.”
According to the report deployments in North America should begin to recover after 2014, although the pace of new shipments is unlikely to match the levels witnessed in the recent past. The growth in installed base will come primarily from medium-sized and smaller utilities that will shift to smart meters as they build business cases for upgrading their metering infrastructure.
Internationally, mandates in the United Kingdom, Spain, and France will push growth consistently through 2020. As improvements in network infrastructure spread across China, the country’s adoption of advanced metering has flourished as well, with growth occurring much earlier and faster than expected. In Japan, utilities are continuing to pursue full deployment of smart meters, beginning to select vendors for advanced metering infrastructure (AMI)-related services in the first two quarters of 2013.
In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia AEC, ICT Europe, and Enel are pursuing smart grid implementation in Saudi Arabia and Gulf Cooperation Council countries, indicating strong growth potential in this newer market. In Africa, small pilot projects continue in South Africa and Egypt, but evidence of large-scale deployments remains absent.
However in Brazil, India, and Canada, ambitious rollout plans have stagnated due to a number of factors, including legislative obstacles and bottlenecks, economic downturns, lack of customer engagement, and both electricity and network infrastructure-related issues.
Over the forecast period to 2022, deployments are expected to lead to a smart meter penetration rate surpassing 80% in North America and Europe. Driven primarily by China, the forecast penetration rate in Asia Pacific will reach nearly 70% by 2022. In the other regions, the smart meter penetration rates will be much lower through 2022, approaching 30% in Latin America and just 10% in the Middle East and Africa.