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Download Harbor Research's report brief on distributed energy resources technologies, markets and opportunities.


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The worlds of sensors, automation, machine learning, computing and communications are each changing rapidly, while at the same time converging into an entirely new competitive arena: smart distributed energy systems and infrastructure.
Volatile energy prices, painful strain on infrastructure, rapidly growing use of renewable energy sources and concern for the environment are creating the need for a transformed power system. The required technology to improve power generation, distribution, and usage through the enabling of a smarter and more interoperable power grid is available.
Years of engineering developments are resulting in affordable technology solutions that, connected by the Internet, will lower power costs and increase its efficient use. New services are emerging that can quickly change how electric service providers increase revenues, and how consumers of power can better manage costs. These new services will rely on distributed, networked power devices that can be automatically monitored, controlled and managed to adjust to power cost, availability, and usage requirements. 
The motivation for developing a smart grid lies in added efficiency of distribution and increased reliability of energy services, both from the point of view of the utility firm and the customer. Power customers are increasingly demanding higher quality, cleaner power with no disruption or downtime, and lower prices. Utility firms are looking for ways to reduce expenditures, maintain system stability, and offer customized services. Achieving these quality, reliability, service, and price demands will become increasingly difficult without a new more distributed and interoperable architecture.

Key findings explored in this enterprise growth opportunity brief:

  1. The electrical power industry is facing several challenges as renewable and distributed energy sources and new technologies are increasingly adopted by power suppliers and consumers alike
  2. Future energy systems, enabled by new intelligent power technologies and smart systems technologies, will need to account for the uses and users of the energy and adjacent applications
  3. With new power and Smart Systems technology disrupting the traditional revenue streams, electric utilities and OEMs must expand their view of revenue opportunities or risk displacement
  4. Electrical power and related assets are critical infrastructure of cities, making Smart City opportunities potential areas of growth and business model evolution for utilities
  5. OEMs, software and service providers must decide whether to collaborate with utilities or to work directly with end customers to enable future smart energy systems and related applications


1. Intro to Smart Systems and Internet of Things Growth Strategy
2. Current State
3. Distributed Energy Resources Growth Opportunities
4. Distributed Energy Summary Findings
5. Framing Trends, Applications and Use Cases
a. Energy Systems Sit at the Intersection of Smart Systems Applications
b. Innovative Power Technologies are Changing the Electricity Industry
c. Electrical Infrastructure is Critical for Smart City Applications
d. DER Challenges for Utilities
6. Evolving Competitive Structure and Business Models
     a. Energy Systems Are Facing Unprecedented Challenges Across the Globe
     b. The Value Chain of Energy Systems Is Undergoing Profound Transformation
     c. Smart Power Systems will Drive a Distributed Energy Future
     d. Utilities & OEMs Must Find New Opportunities To Capture Value
     e. Major Participants are Moving To Harness and Manage Smart Power Systems
     f. Bold Moves Are Required to Capture and Extract Value
     g. The DER Market Represents An Attractive Opportunity for Acquirers
     h. The Timing  is right….for DER
7. Dimensioning and Targeting Growth Opportunities
     a. The Opportunity Trifecta: Resiliency, Sustainability and Digitization
     b. Utilities Can Address Many New Applications and Use Cases
     c. Electrical Power is a Huge Slice of the Smart Cities Opportunity
     d. Many Market Participants are Partnering to Invest in the Future of Smart Power
     e. Utilities Are Deploying Significant Amounts of Capital in Technology & Startups
     f. Utility Strategies for Digital Technology Procurement and Digital Expertise
     g. Innovators Are Maneuvering to Enable Future Energy Systems
     h. Growth Drivers in DER
     i. The Global Market for Distributed Energy Resources Totals $130 Billion
8. Market Development Challenges and Opportunities
     a. Strategic Maneuvers Dictate Utilities’ Role in Future Power Systems
     b. The Evolving Power Space Impacts Suppliers Serving Utilities Today
     c. Utilities Can Position Themselves as a Smart Cities Platform
     d. Capitalizing on the Opportunity
     e. Next Steps for Further Analysis and Opportunity Capture
9. Innovation Profiles
     a. BlocPower
     b. TerraPower
     c. NuScale
     d. Uncharted Power
     e. Uplight
     f. stem
     g. Volt Energy
     h. Power Ledger
     i. ambibox
     j. Form Energy, Inc


A Brief Overview of Our Standard Research Methodologies

Primary Research
Harbor conducts first-hand conversations with subject matter experts, potential buyers, and insiders. These conversations also give insights into the nuances of different customer needs and expectations.

Secondary Research
Harbor uses secondary sources, such as research reports and global databases to contextualize costs and benefits to different circumstances, scales, regions, and/or industries. 

Academic Research
Oftentimes, the most accurate statistical findings that we leverage come from large university research departments, especially those with strong ties to private sector research and development.

Competitor and Sector Research
A decent portion of the information needed to position a certain technology for success can be found by analyzing competitor offerings and gaps. Knowledge about competitors within a sector and their selling habits gives Harbor unique insights into market and growth strategies.

Competitor Pricing Analysis
Price comparisons are a natural part of a client’s decision-making process. Insight into competitor pricing helps you identify the correct selling points to convey in your calculator.


Case Studies
Case Studies are great for understanding context and use-case applicability. They also provide qualitative insights into how certain technologies have benefitted their users.

Comparable Technologies
When you have a category-breaking new product or solution on the market, it is difficult to draw apples-to-apples comparisons with other deployments. In these circumstances, value-based comparisons come into play and comparable technologies should be considered.


Harbor Research has significant industry experience and a team with relevant expertise in distributed power generation and distribution equipment, renewable energy equipment and services, energy management software, energy management for intelligent buildings as well as specific market opportunities such as electric vehicle manufacturing and EV charging.

Comprehensive Strategic Review of Photovoltaic Equipment for Incoming CEO & New Investors

A highly innovative producer of photonic coatings for utility solar power providers, led by a long-standing former client, turned to Harbor for a comprehensive strategic review, both in preparation for assuming a CEO position, and as decisive validation for investors —encompassing the global market opportunity for photovoltaic components including customer segments, competitive offerings, pricing and unit volumes
Detailed findings covering the full scope of a strategic review including recommendations regarding the prioritization of market and applications and organized into a sequenced strategic roadmap.

Sales Engagement Strategies for the Top Power and Utility Growth Opportunities

A leading global industrial player in power generation and transmission equipment asked Harbor to guide their strategic process as they grappled with the “new normal” of mission critical power systems: identify and validate the top growth opportunities; frame the landscape of applications that can be won based on competitor analysis; determine the optimal sales engagement required to penetrate these opportunities.

Pricing strategy recommendations across the offering; and related considerations for how this model should evolve, positioning and messaging inputs for software offerings, pricing and related values for users and customers.

EV Charging Market Sizing, Competitive Assessment and Market Entry Strategies

One of Harbor’s longest-standing clients from the semiconductor industry sought to understand the global opportunity to provide computing and related software technology to the EV charging market, and how best to position itself given market dynamics, global adoption, and the current competitive environment as well as a comprehensive market sizing and technical architecture component breakdown.

Recommended roadmap regarding the best strategic maneuvers to consider when entering the EV charging market as well as key recommendations for product development, ecosystem development, and marketing activities including adjacent use cases.

Prioritization of Market Segments for Electrified Commercial Fleets

A newly formed public company with significant resources and led by industry veterans sought out Harbor’s guidance as they evaluated various commercial delivery and fleet EV innovation opportunities, based on criteria such as customer segmentation, application segmentation and technology capabilities as well as business model implications and likelihood of adoption.

A framework for build/buy/partner decisions relative to identified opportunities and key recommendations for prioritized solutions positioned and prioritized accordingly on a technical road map.

Market Participant Survey for Energy Management in Intelligent Buildings

A perennial client assigned Harbor (via a successful proposal to a competitive RFP) to analyze the technology, customer, and competitive forces impacting the evolution of intelligent buildings energy management systems, as well as conduct a comprehensive market survey diverse market segments to understand buyer, and conduct in-depth expert interviews to develop recommendations for solution delivery opportunities.

Executive Summary presentation for stakeholders, “print-ready” full-color reports with detailed findings, conclusions & recommendations as well as multiple webinars for each sponsor / stakeholder.




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