While the breakneck pace of smart meter deployment will slow after 2013, IDC Energy Insights forecasts that US smart meter installations will surpass 80 million by 2015 as utilities will find a business case to replace aging AMR and drive-by systems and as demand begins to grow for HAN and remote load-control functionality.
Established Players Lead the Way
Itron and Landis+Gyr dominated the US meter market in 2010, combining to account for more than 60% of total installations. Landis+Gyr commanded more than 50% of the 2010 Muni and Coop markets, while Itron (> 40%) and Sensus (nearly 20%) lead in major IOU deployments.
Smart Meter communications in the United States continue to be dominated by RF-Mesh based solutions and more than 75% of endpoints installed in 2010 are communicating through mesh networks. Itron's OpenWay solution leapfrogged both Landis+Gyr and start-up darling Silver Spring Networks in 2010 as major deployments at San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and CenterPoint Energy came up to speed.
While mesh remains the preferred solution in the IOU market, PLC, or power-line communications, has historically dominated the electric cooperative market. Despite recent gains by Sensus' RF-Tower based offering and RF-Mesh solutions provided by Tantalus and Elster, this trend continued as PLC captured more than 50% of the Coop market in 2010. Aclara maintained a narrow lead over Cooper Power Systems and Landis+Gyr's TS2 solution in 2010 deployments of PLC at US cooperatives.
The Smart Grid Investment Grant program launched by EISA and furthered by ARRA has given tremendous momentum to the US Smart Meter industry. Much about the marketplace however, remains uncertain and will be determined in the next 5-10 years.
* How will low-capacity PLC networks hold-up as HAN's begin to place demands on bandwidth?
* What effect will grassroots concern over electromagnetic radiation have on wireless deployments?
* Will declining cellular data prices overcome utility concerns regarding reliability and data security?
* What impact will cross-platform functionality have on vendor selection?
* How will the marketplace develop as startups rise and fall and Chinese manufacturers enter the industry?
* How will the increased integration and penetration of renewables influence smart meter adoption?
IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Smart Meter Tracker provides a quantitative look at the Smart Meter industry in North America, EMEA, and the Rest of the World, including shipments and installations by meter and communication vendor, market value, and a 5-year forecast.