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The Grid Edge: A Next-Generation Energy System

By 2016 there will be a new distributed PV installation every 83 seconds in the United States. More distributed solar has been deployed in the past 2.5 years than in the 50 years prior, and GTM Research is forecasting another doubling over the next two years. With this comes a slew of challenges and opportunities at the "Grid Edge."

The Grid Edge defines the undeniable transition of the electric power industry into a next-generation, holistic, distributed energy system. Given the undeniable fact that we are moving from a centralized energy system to a next-generation, distributed energy system, the Grid Edge is the ultimate future of grid modernization.

This is transformational in terms of the traditional electric utility business model and the future of how energy is generated, distributed and consumed. A myriad of information technologies, combined with new energy technologies, are creating fertile ground for technology and business model innovation and industry growth.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. What is the grid edge and why is it important? Identify the technology layers and components that are defined by the grid edge and why the concept is of paramount importance to the future of the energy system.
  2. Clearly explain the market drivers that are the primary catalysts for change: rapidly growing distributed PV and the need for infrastructure reliability in the face of future climate-induced superstorms.
  3. Explain what this means for the electric utility industry going forward. They are at a crossroads where participation and innovation will reward them and resistance will hold them back, even if the signals are not completely clear yet.
  4. Explain how all of this creates massive opportunities for new and existing technology companies in both renewable energy and information technology.



Rick Thompson, President & Co-Founder, Greentech Media

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