Utility plans to install smart meters are underway with 57.9 million units already planned for installation by more than 90 utilities in the United States, according to a tracking report from Pike Research. Smart electric meters, which use two-way communications networks, are pegged as the first step toward greater efficiency and control over energy, opening the door for new energy management tools and pricing plans, according to the market research firm.
“Smart meter installations have grown by leaps and bounds in 2010,” says research analyst Jevan Fox, in a statement. “But while we estimate that about 21 million smart meters will be installed in the U.S. by the end of this year, utilities have already planned for many more as deployment programs continue to gain momentum over the next few years.”
The third quarter 2010 report, “Smart Grid Deployment Tracker,” finds that smart grid and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) smart meter deployments have slowed since the second half of 2009. Pike reports that there has been no larger smart-grid deployment announcements in the second or third quarter of 2010, only AMI smart-meter deployments.
A majority of the 7.1 million endpoints announced in the second half of 2009 were directly related to the stimulus grants awarded in October 2009, according to the report.
As pilot programs come to the end of their terms, more utilities will be selecting meter and communication vendors to rollout either smart grid or AMI smart metering projects, say researchers. As a result, deployments are expected to increase significantly throughout the second half of 2010.
Landis+Gyr continues to be the market leader in terms of utility vendor selections, accounting for 26 percent of total endpoints as of the end of the third quarter, according to Pike’s report. During the past year, Landis+Gyr surpassed Itron as the number one smart meter supplier to utilities in the U.S., with Itron now holding a 24 percent share of the market. Other key players include Sensus with a 21 percent market share, GE Energy with 20 percent, Elster with 5 percent, and Echelon with 3 percent.
Market leaders of communications modules required to support AMI include Silver Spring Networks (29 percent of utility vendor selections), Itron (22 percent), followed by Sensus (17 percent) and Landis+Gyr (16 percent). Other competitors include Elster, Echelon, Aclara, and Trilliant.
An earlier Pike report revealed that 88 percent of Americans would be willing to use a smart device such as a meter, thermostat or appliance if it would help to better manage their energy use — the same number of people who think energy investments are necessary.