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Powerline Carrier Projected to Play Major Roles in Smart Grid and Smart Cities

May 31, 2016 By Molly White in

Although the idea of delivering broadband over electric power lines never really caught on, powerline carrier (PLC) technology is seeing strong growth in support of the smart grid, indoor networking and smart street lighting, according to research firm Technavio. A Technavio global powerline carrier forecast calls for a compound annual growth rate exceeding 9% through 2020.

Smart grid applications garnered a 55.6% share of PLC market revenue in 2015, Technavio highlights in a press release Government and public utility investments in advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and renewable energy resource technology will spur rapid growth over the forecast period, according to the market research provider.

“Another major factor that aids in market growth is the implementation of advanced metering infrastructure by government utilities. In June 2015, Netz Burgenland Strom, an electricity distribution system operator in Austria, awarded a contract to Landis+Gyr for the installation of smart meters across the country by leveraging its G3 PLC technology,” commented Sunil Kumar Singh, a lead analyst at Technavio for embedded systems research.

Powerline Carrier Forecast

Landline and wireless powerline carrier technology are core elements of deploying and operating solar, wind and other types of renewable energy systems, a global market valued at $625.3 billion in 2015, according to Technavio. The Technavio powerline carrier forecast calls for those revenues to rise at an 8.12% CAGR from 2015-2020.

Indoor networking is another of the three PLC market segments Technavio expects to grow fastest. PLC technology doesn’t require rolling out new cables and wires, a distinct advantage when it comes to minimizing project costs, even as compared to wireless technologies.

Nonetheless, the market research and advisory company forecasts the market share for PLC indoor networking will decline during the period as businesses implement BYOD and corporate-owned personally enabled (COPE) devices. Growing use of such devices indoors has spurred investment in indoor wireless rather than wired networks.

Smart, automated lighting – street and industrial – is the third PLC application that Technavio believes will grow fastest. In contrast to homes and offices, factories and warehouses require lighting nearly 24x7x365. That makes for a stronger business case to invest in smart lighting products and systems.

“The growing demand for intelligent lighting systems across industries has benefited PLC technology,” Sunil pointed out. ¨This is because the environment in industrial areas is harsh and the presence of various automated industrial equipment make data transmission over wireless networks unreliable. Therefore, the market share of this segment will increase during the forecast period.”