Gateway:U.S. OpenLabs/Technology Options Analysis

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What software is available to analyze the role of clean energy technologies in projects and markets?

There are a number of tools and models developed by the US National Labs which can be used to assist government officials, private sector, project developers and civil society in analyzing the optimal application of clean energy technologies. Many of the tools and models presented here are freely accessible and are easily adaptable to differing international circumstances. Resources such as presentations, user manuals and other interactive media are available to allow for distance-based learning and application of these tools throughout the world.

  • Tools
    • HOMER is a computer model developed at NREL that simplifies the task of evaluating design options for both off-grid and grid-connected power systems for remote, stand-alone, and distributed generation (DG) applications.
    • Solar Advisor Model (SAM) combines a detailed performance model with several types of financing (from residential to utility-scale) for most solar technologies was developed by NREL in partnership with Sandia National Laboratory and the US Dept. of Energy, Solar Energy Technologies Program (SETP).
    • PVWatts is a calculator developed at NREL to determine the energy production and cost savings of grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) energy systems throughout the world.
    • RETFinance is used to calculate cost of energy of renewable electricity generation technologies such as biomass, geothermal, solar, and wind and was developed at NREL.
    • Benchmarking and Energy Saving Tool (BEST) is an Excel-based spreadsheet energy analysis tool developed at LBNL.
    • MARKet ALlocation (MARKAL) is a computer-driven, dynamic optimization model that uses upwards of 10,000 equations and constraints to foster strategic energy planning developed at Brookhaven National Laboratory.
    • Generation and Transmission Maximization (GTMax) Model helps researchers study complex marketing and system operational issues to maximize the value of the electric system and was developed at Argonne National Laboratory
    • Geothermal Properties Measurement Toolis an Excel tool developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for geothermal heat pump (GHP) designers and installers to better determine the geothermal properties at a certain location.