HOMER Grid releases Multi-year Analysis function to help design solar-plus-storage systems
Experts and new users of the HOMER Grid software are driving enhancements that will enable more powerful and accurate modeling of grid-tied distributed energy systems. Released today, the new version of HOMER Grid for optimizing behind-the-meter distributed generation features a new Multi-year Analysis function that facilitates calculations on the impacts of utility price escalation, growing electric loads and the degradation of batteries and PV panels over time. As more energy entrepreneurs design and build distributed energy systems and hybrid renewable microgrids, their clients are asking how these projects might be able to scale up in size and adapt to changing conditions in the future. The Multi-year Analysis is a key tool for testing ways that distributed energy projects are likely to perform decades from now.
“Customer feedback was instrumental in the choice to add Multi-year Analysis to HOMER Grid,” says CEO Dr. Peter Lilienthal of HOMER Energy, which designed the software. “In the fast-moving microgrid world, we work closely with our users to develop new approaches.”
HOMER Grid helps commercial and industrial (C&I) customers reduce demand charges and other electricity costs through the design of behind-the-meter projects that incorporate renewable energy, storage, and other efficient technologies such as combined heat and power (CHP). By accurately modeling and comparing the financial benefits of different distributed energy investments, HOMER Grid users can reduce financial risk by determining the best mix of resources for the lowest cost. HOMER Grid incorporates utility tariff data from the US, Canada and Mexico, and makes it easy for users from other countries to create custom tariffs. Using utility costs and simulating distributed energy systems based on specifications from leading equipment manufacturers, HOMER Grid performs complex calculations that identify potential values in self-consumption, demand charge reduction and energy arbitrage.
A new enhancement that should appeal to experts is the ability to export dispatch log files and dig into minute-by-minute details behind battery discharge or peak shaving. Users who have an in-depth understanding of the simulation process will be more confident that HOMER Grid is representing a realistic performance of their system and be able to convey that information to their clients more easily. HOMER Grid also has an improved Time Series Viewer, which will allow users to bookmark their preferred graphs, access them instantly each time they model a system, and include them quickly in the final Simulation Report, an important customer communication tool.
For new users of HOMER Grid — or people that are just getting proficient with modeling of distributed energy systems — there are several enhancements that will make it quicker and easier to understand the results of a simulation. A Summary Tab pops up each time a model run is completed, displaying the “winning” or least-cost design front and center. The Time Series Viewer now includes key graphs that are set up by default in the software. Overlaying the most frequently accessed data sets, they illustrate critical insights such as peak shaving and battery discharge, providing visual illustrations of how the distributed energy system is operating.
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