In good news for on-site power, a new report predicts that the total worldwide capacity of remote microgrids will grow from 286 MW in 2013 to nearly 980 MW in 2020.

The report, from analysis firm Navigant Research, also predicts that global revenues in the sector will rise from over US$3 billion in 2013 to more than $8 billion in 2020.

The report looked at microgrids serving rural villages in the developing world, islands, mines and other commodity extraction facilities, and military mobile and tactical applications, with a focus on the fast-growing on-site renewables segment.

According to the report, key drivers in the growth of remote microgrids featuring renewables include the rising cost of diesel fuel (still the default power generation choice for most remote microgrids and off-grid commodity extraction) vs the falling cost of renewable technologies, especially solar photovoltaics; increasing advancements in energy storage technologies which benefit variable renewables such as solar power; and increasing NGO concern with sustainable energy access in developing nations.