China Drives First-Quarter Smart Meter Growth

Approximately 17.4 million smart meters were shipped globally in the first quarter of 2011, according to the information firm Pike Research, with 12.1 million of the units being deployed in China and around 3.5 million in North America.

The Pike estimate dwarfs the 5 million first-quarter figure from IDC Energy Insights reported only a few weeks ago.

Pike said the number of advanced metering infrastructure communication nodes shipped during the first quarter matched that of smart meters. Due to China’s implementation, which Pike’s research director said was surprising in its speed and scale, powerline communication technology was the most common networking technology being used. But in the rest of the world, the preference was for home area networking devices.

The research company said growth in Europe was predictably steady, and that the effects of the much-debated 2009 U.S. stimulus was partially responsible for the continued smart meter rollout in America. We recently reported that, overall, the federal government is happy with smart meter installations.

Not all the news about the smart grid is sunny, however, several studies that claim implementation of the technology is happening with little consumer knowledge or proper education.

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