Grid expansion fuels demand for circuit breakers and fuses


Based on its findings, Cleveland-based industry research firm The Freedonia Group, forecasts sales for circuit breakers and fuses in the US to reach $5.3 billion in less than four years. The firm attributes the growth to ongoing efforts to expand and upgrade the US electrical grid, as well as a return to growth in electricity generation levels.

The increase in generation follows a “modest downturn experienced during the 2010-2015 period.”

The study adds that the growing utilization of renewable energy sources will support the use of specialty, higher value circuit protection devices, contributing to overall dollar gains. Furthermore, continued increases in both residential and non-residential building activity will bolster associated circuit breaker and fuse demand.

Electric power market demand to soar

[quote] The electric power market is estimated to be the largest end-user for circuit breakers and fuses, and is expected to continue this growth through to 2020, as power utilities increase their construction spending. [Rise in smart grid investments to drive grid automation market]

In a press release, The Freedonia Group notes however that during the 2016-2020 period, the residential market will post the strongest gains, bolstered by 8% yearly increases in housing construction spending.

Growth prospects in the non-residential market are also expected to be favorable, with associated construction activity expected to climb nearly 5% annually.

Suppliers serving the non-residential segment will also benefit from the higher value of products utilized there relative to many residential applications.

Other markets to witness growth include the automotive market bolstered by the increase in hybrid and electric vehicles.

Circuit breaker sales to outpace fuses

In a continuation of historical trends, circuit breaker sales will outpace fuse sales through 2020, says the The Freedonia Group. [Smart grid drives power distribution market growth]

However, the difference in growth rates will become less pronounced.  Circuit breakers have already replaced fuses in most of the applications where practical, and as a result, fuse suppliers will not lose market share at the rate they once did.

Moreover, growth in certain direct current (DC) power applications, such as solar power generation, will benefit fuse manufacturers, as DC power poses some difficulties for circuit breaker usage.

“Still, circuit breaker manufacturers will continue to benefit from their products’ performance advantages relative to fuses in many applications, as well as their relatively higher value,” the firm concludes.