The global DC circuit breaker market was valued at USD 4.42 billion in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 8.92 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 8.12% during the forecast period (2023–2031). Rising power consumption and growing transmission and distribution infrastructure investments are expected to drive the market over the forecast period. A surge in the use of renewable sources in the energy mix and the modernization of aging infrastructure will likely favor market expansion.
Direct current (DC) is a kind of electrical current constantly flowing in one direction. It is generated by batteries, solar panels, and fuel cells, among other sources. In contrast to alternating current (AC), which periodically reverses direction, direct current (DC) maintains a constant flow, making it the preferred choice for numerous electronic devices and systems. A circuit breaker is a switching instrument that prevents damage to an electrical system by interrupting the flow of high-amperage current in an electric circuit.
The direct current (DC) circuit breaker is an electrical switch that shields a circuit from damage resulting from an oversupply of electricity in a direct current circuit. A DC circuit breaker is designed to detect a fault and interrupt the current flow. Direct current (DC) circuit breakers are installed in fuse boxes with a rail designed specifically for them. These devices can protect individual direct-current loads and main circuits, such as inverters, solar PV arrays, and battery banks.
|Market Size||USD 8.92 billion by 2031|
|Fastest Growing Market||North America|
|Largest Market||Asia Pacific|
|Report Coverage||Revenue Forecast, Competitive Landscape, Growth Factors, Environment & Regulatory Landscape and Trends|
The increasing adoption of alternate sources of electricity, mainly solar power, is expected to be one of the significant drivers for the DC circuit breaker market. As solar power generation is one of the cleanest modes of energy that generates DC power, the demand for DC circuit breakers is likely to grow with the surging adoption of solar PV globally.
The solar power industry has seen massive development in the past few years. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, the cumulative global installed solar capacity reached more than 709 GW in 2020, recording a growth of about 22% compared to 583 GW in 2019. Such a scenario will likely see significant developments in the solar industry, thus driving the demand for DC circuit breakers during the forecast period.
High-voltage direct current (HVDC) technology is among the catalysts driving the electricity market's transformation. There is a rise in the adoption of HVDC transmission systems, as these are better suited for long-distance power transmission. Several countries are adopting HDVC transmission lines over HVAC for renewable power plants, as they ensure high availability, minimal maintenance, and lower losses (by around 50% compared to HVAC).
Several HDVC transmission projects are being implemented globally to connect renewable power generation sites to grids, which could be seen widely in recent times. For instance, in October 2021, Siemens Energy bagged a project from Ørsted and Eversource to supply an HDVC transmission system for 924 megawatts (MW) of Offshore Wind Farm Powering New York State. The offshore wind farm initiative in the United States will mark a significant milestone as it becomes the inaugural project of its kind to establish a connection to the electrical grid by utilizing a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system. Such projects are likely to increase the demand for DC circuit breakers, as they are needed to protect against fault currents in HVDC circuits.
Fuses and circuit breakers share a common objective. Fuses possess numerous advantages in comparison to circuit breakers. Out of all the factors, cost emerges as the predominant consideration. Fuses are readily accessible and cost-effective, and they are widespread in most hardware retail establishments. They react more quickly to overloading, offering more protection to applications such as solar applications, battery storage solutions, etc. However, circuit breakers are more expensive to install, repair, and replace, thus restraining market growth.
The electricity distribution sector has seen a significant transformation due to the rapid improvements in technology. This development has led to the creation of highly sophisticated DC circuit breakers. These circuit breakers have been designed specifically to meet the evolving needs of power systems, thereby enhancing safety and dependability.
For instance, solid-state technology is utilized in DC circuit breakers. In contrast to electromechanical circuit breakers, which rely on movable components to interrupt the current flow, solid-state circuit breakers use semiconductor devices to achieve the same result. This allows for more precise operation and increased durability against regular use. Such technological advancements are expected to create opportunities for market growth.
Asia-Pacific Dominates the Global Market
Based on region, the global DC circuit breaker market is bifurcated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America, and the Middle East and Africa.
Asia-Pacific is the most significant global DC circuit breaker market shareholder and is expected to expand substantially during the forecast period. DC circuit breakers are anticipated to be in high demand in Asia-Pacific, primarily due to the region's increasing electricity demand and the related need for electrical infrastructure. Government agencies across the Asia-Pacific region have implemented numerous strategies to gradually minimize carbon emissions by increasing investments in the research and development of renewable energy sources. For example, Asia-Pacific's solar capacity increased from 90.6 GW in 2015 to 422.6 GW in 2020.
Additionally, the Indian government has initiated several initiatives to increase the country's adoption of renewable energy sources. For instance, in September 2021, the Government of India announced plans to increase India's renewable energy capacity by over 175 GW in 2020, including 100 GW solar and 60 GW wind energy. Such initiatives taken by government bodies across the Asia-Pacific region are expected to boost the demand for DC electric circuit breakers.
North America is a highly industrialized economy and has the highest per capita power consumption and demand globally. The region is also expected to witness robust growth in demand for energy storage, along with the rising deployment of renewable energy installations in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. In addition, the number of data centers and vehicles that incorporate low-voltage DC circuit breakers is growing in the region. Due to this, North America is one of the largest markets for DC circuit breakers globally.
North America has one of the largest installed renewable energy capacity globally, especially solar energy. Solar photovoltaic (PV) is estimated to account for the most extensive annual capacity additions for renewables, above wind and hydro, for the next five years. The cost of solar PV dropped by more than 80% between 2010 and 2020 on a global scale, and similar trends were observed in North America during the same period. Therefore, factors such as declining prices of solar PV panels and associated systems are leading to the surging adoption of solar PV systems in the region, thereby driving market growth.
Europe is among the largest renewable energy markets globally, accounting for around 22% of the total installed renewable energy capacity worldwide in 2020. Solar power accounted for approximately 25.63% of the total renewable energy installed capacity. Due to the high amount of renewable energy deployment, large EV fleets, and a well-developed charging infrastructure, Europe is expected to be among the largest markets for DC circuit breakers during the forecast period. In addition, factors like supportive government policies, competitive market prices, the increasing shift toward clean energy sources, and upcoming large-scale solar power projects, coupled with supportive government policies and the transition toward clean energy, are expected to positively boost the DC circuit breaker market. Most of Europe's manufacturing facilities and companies are in Germany, Italy, France, and the UK. Therefore, the countries above have a large domestic demand for DC circuit breakers due to their strong manufacturing capabilities.
In South America, electricity demand has been growing significantly in the last decade, primarily because of the improving economic conditions in the region. The strong growth in the solar power sector is expected to continue during the forecast years as operational risk subsides and interest in the market from international investors and project developers increases in the South American region. The development of various distributed energy resources and the increasing need for energy security in the South American region are expected to drive the demand for advanced equipment. These factors are expected to drive the growth of the DC circuit breaker market in South America during the forecast period.
The global DC circuit breaker market is segmented by type, insulation, voltage, and end-user.
Based on type, the global DC circuit breaker market is bifurcated into solid-state and hybrid.
The solid-state segment dominates the global market and is expected to grow substantially over the forecast period. A solid-state DC circuit breaker replaces traditional parts of electromechanical circuit breakers with advanced software algorithms and semiconductors that may control power and interrupt power systems faster within a few microseconds than electromechanical ones that utilize a few milliseconds. In the case of an internal fault, energy storage systems and electrical DC grid services are strongly affected by downtime. A solid-state DC circuit breaker may help disconnect fault zones rapidly and prevent the system's shutdown.
In addition, a solid-state DC circuit breaker may interrupt DC current without generating an arc and is maintenance-free. The tripping and switch units are solid-state, which meets precise protection requirements, and they use an emitter turn-off (ETO) thyristor as the switch, which contains a cathode, anode, and three gate electrodes.
Based on insulation, the global DC circuit breaker market is divided into gas and vacuum.
The gas segment owns the highest market share and is predicted to grow substantially over the forecast period. In a gas DC circuit breaker, various gases such as natural gas, carbon dioxide-oxygen, and hydrogen-nitrogen are used to insulate the circuit breaker. The most profound usage is of sulfur hexafluoride gas (SF6). In an SF6 circuit breaker, sulfur hexafluoride gas is used as the arc quenching medium. The sulfur hexafluoride gas (SF6) is an electronegative gas and tends to absorb free electrons. Compared to other circuit breakers types, such as vacuum and air circuit breakers, the SF6 circuit breakers have been very effective for high power and high voltage service. This is why SF6 CBs are used in substations for all voltages above, including 144 kilovolts (kV).
Based on voltage, the global DC circuit breaker market is divided into low voltage, medium voltage, and high voltage.
The high-voltage DC circuit breaker segment is the largest revenue contributor to the market over the forecast period. High-voltage DC circuit breaker operates within a voltage range of greater than 72.5 kV DC, and they are primarily used in HVDC transmission and distribution systems, utility-scale renewable energy plants, including onshore and offshore wind farms, and solar PV utility-scale projects. There are four kinds of HVDC circuit breakers, i.e., mechanical circuit breakers with passive resonance circuits, mechanical circuit breakers with active current injection, solid-state, and hybrid DC circuit breakers.
Globally, the increasing renewable energy production is expected to drive the HVDC transmission market as it can help transmit electricity from remote renewable power sources to consumers without as much power loss as conventional methods. Replacing aging traditional power stations and grids with HVDC systems would likely drive the high-voltage DC circuit breaker market as the power mix shifts towards renewable energy.
Based on the end-user, the global DC circuit breaker market is segmented into transmission and distribution, renewables and energy storage systems, commercial, and others.
The transmission and distribution segment owns the highest market share and is predicted to grow significantly over the forecast period. The vast industrial landscape's electricity generation, transmission, distribution, and consumption processes are undergoing dramatic changes. The electricity markets, particularly concerning the transmission and distribution network, have undergone restructuring, paving the way for more advanced transmission technologies in developing countries. HV transmission systems, MV transmission systems, and LV distribution systems are prone to changes and fluctuations, and there is a need to protect these DC systems from short circuits or faults.
Various countries are adopting DC over AC, especially High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC), due to its cutting-edge features, such as long-distance transmission, asynchronous transmission, ease in controlling the active power link, the possibility of bulk power transmission, and low loss (typically 30-50% less transmission loss than comparable alternating current overhead lines) in the transmission of power.