FRAMINGHAM, Mass. -- The global smart meter industry continues to gain steam as meter manufacturers shipped nearly 5 million meters in the first quarter of 2011 (1Q11), an increase of 22.7% over the same quarter in 2010. This marks the second highest quarter of shipments to date, falling just shy of the record figure of 5.1 million meters shipped in the second quarter of 2010. IDC Energy Insights' Worldwide Quarterly Smart Meter Tracker forecasts that the global smart meter market will exceed 71 million by 2015, reflecting a 5-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.3%.
While the smart meter market has historically been driven by North America and Europe, IDC expects significant progress towards global adoption within the forecast period. In the Asia/Pacific region, the market for smart meters is rapidly developing, led by gains in China, Japan, Australia, and South Korea, while Brazil and Mexico appear poised to drive smart metering in Latin America. Despite regional differences in the communication technology landscape, one thing is the same – momentum is building.
In North America, "smart" metering is rapidly becoming the standard. While major utility deployments, such as Landis+Gyr's recent win at Hydro Quebec and Itron's upcoming deployment at BC Hydro, continue to drive the market, small and mid-market utilities are also moving towards smart metering solutions. Cooperatives like SECO Energy (Sensus) and Muni's like the Kansas City BPU (Elster) are adopting smart meters to encourage energy efficiency while simultaneously creating a backbone for future load control and outage management systems.
Dean Chuang, senior research analyst on IDC Energy Insights Trackers team, notes, "Despite the initial industry and public reluctance for change in North America, smart meters can serve the interests of both the utility and the customer. This dual purpose will drive utilities around the world to adopt smart metering technology and launch the next generation of grid infrastructure."
Roberta Bigliani, research director of IDC Energy Insights for Europe, Middle East & Africa notes that similar progress towards smart metering has been made in EMEA. "Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) have seen significant progress in terms of units shipped growing 43.8% last quarter. In Spain, Endesa has progressed with its rollout plan and Iberdrola has proceeded to the final stage of its initial pilot. In France, mass deployment is just around corner. And the UK does not want to be left behind. British Gas has proceeded with the announced rollout using Landis+Gyr multi-energy solution and Trilliant communication. Based on country-level research that was launched this quarter, in the UK the growth of the installed base for Q1 was 17.3%."
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