The global smart transformers market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 10.54%, from 2017 to 2022. The market in Asia Pacific is estimated to be the largest market for smart transformers, followed by the North American market in 2017. This trend is expected to continue till 2022. The growth of the smart transformers market is driven by aging infrastructure, increasing emphasis on alternative energy production across the globe, improving and evolving technologies, digitalization of power utilities, and huge investments in smart grids and energy systems.
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Digitalization of power utilities
Power utilities are investing in process automation along with digitalizing the monitoring and controlling of the processes. Power utilities require a huge number of sensors and data handling solutions in order to manage and use the acquired data intelligently. Utilities in power transmission and distribution prioritize bridging the gap between the conventional methods of monitoring and the newly developed technologies. Utilities are seeking the right balance between existing systems and new technologies, in a cost conscious environment. Transformers with smart monitoring systems play a key role in network monitoring for transmission and distribution utilities while at the generation end, monitoring of generator step–up transformers become critical before feeding the electricity to the grid. Thus, digitalization of the utilities is likely to boost the demand for smart transformers. They provide the necessary network intelligence to improve power quality and ensure consistent power supply. These improving technologies are cost competitive and have proven to be advantageous over old or conventional power infrastructures. In addition, high-speed analytics are required to analyze the data being generated from the smart equipment.
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High initial cost incurred in the installation of smart transformers
The major restraint for the smart transformers market is the high equipment cost due to which many enterprises are reluctant to implement this device. These transformers provide an assured Return on Investment (ROI) in terms of reliability, power factor improvement, and harmonics elimination which plays an important role in making overall energy system efficient, cost effective, and productive. However, the high initial cost of installing such transformers may be burdensome for potential customers who may choose to stay with traditional transformers. As of May 2017, for AC/AC applications, cost of conventional low frequency transformer was USD 11.4/kVA, while solid state transformer cost approximately USD 52.7/kVA. When considering AC/DC application, the cost for conventional low frequency transformers is USD 30/kVA in comparison to solid state transformers which costs USD 34.1/kVA. The price of semiconductor materials has been exhibiting a downward trend across the world which is expected to bring down the price of a smart transformer. This cost barrier restricts the growth of the smart transformers market. The government policies in some countries focus on providing affordable means to implement new technologies, while companies in most of the regions are still facing challenges from government policies.
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