The North American market for distributed energy resources (DER) such as engine generators, microturbines, and fuel cells began to rebound in 2003, after shrinking dramatically in 2002, according to energy market intelligence company Primen.
The new Primen study estimates that there are more than 12,000 North American energy users with demand in the 100 kW – 10 MW range that are strong prospects for DER – that is, companies positively exploring DER options. Surprisingly, these strong prospects have realistic expectations on the economic payback period for a DER project, with 86% saying they’re willing to accept a payback of four years or longer.
But the challenge for distributed energy providers remains: how can these prospects be converted into DER buyers?
‘Although the bottom line on selling distributed energy systems is just that – the bottom line, economic savings alone won’t tip a DER prospect into being a DER customer,’ says Nicholas Lenssen, a senior director at Primen. ‘Distributed energy vendors also need to satisfy energy user concerns such as ongoing maintenance of equipment, environmental permitting, and natural gas fuel price escalation.’
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