After a surge in the of deployments in the period from 2009 to 2011, global smart meter shipments fell 15 percent in the first quarter of 2012 at only 15.1 million units, a Pike Research report says.
The largest dip was in the North American market, due to uncertainty of the Production Tax Credit and other subsidies under the U.S. government’s stimulus money.
«The [stimulus], which had been an important driver of projects, has nearly run out, and many utilities have either finished projects or are starting to wind them down,» said Pike senior analyst Neil Strother. He adds that shipments will continue to be soft in North America, but believes other markets like Europe and Asia will keep the global smart meter business afloat.
Japan’s Tokyo Electric Power Company announced plans to roll out 17 million smart meters in Japan through 2019, while Spanish utility Iberdrola has tied up with seven meter manufacturers to supply 1 million smart meters to be rolled out through 2018.
Global manufacturer Landis+Gyr meanwhile is capitalizing on a government mandate for every home and business to be equipped with smart meters by 2019, and has partnered with Chinese telecom firm Huawei for smart meter communications technology.
Aside from North America, another big market that has seen a slowdown in deployment is China. Foreign suppliers have noted a lesser demand in the country. Still, the country is deploying large volumes but in a more measured pace – with the largest share of the shipments at 70 percent.