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Models and Tools

Use models and tools developed or supported by NREL to assess, analyze, and optimize renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies for your project. Many of these tools can be applied on a global, regional, local, or project basis. NREL models and tools include several designed for the consumer or energy professional.

Technology and Performance Analysis


Estimates the electricity production of a grid-connected roof- or ground-mounted photovoltaic system based on a few simple inputs.

The Energy DataBus

Open-source software that collects massive amounts of energy-related data at second-to-second intervals.

Building Life-Cycle Cost (BLCC)

Analyze capital investments in buildings. Includes the Energy Escalation Rate Calculator 2.0-13.

EnergyPlus Simulation Program

Helps building designers and owners save money, reduce energy use, and improve indoor air quality.

Geothermal Prospector

Designed to provide easy access to geothermal resource datasets and other data relevant to utility-scale geothermal power projects.

Solar Deployment System (SolarDS)

Examine the market competitiveness of solar PV technologies from the building user's perspective. Contact Ben Sigrin or read documentation for more information.

Solar and Wind Energy Resource Assessment (SWERA) Model

Use NREL's geospatial toolkit to visualize solar and wind resource data in 13 developing countries. Contact Dan Getman for more information.

Scenario Evaluation, Regionalization and Analysis (SERA)

Determine optimal production and delivery scenarios for hydrogen, with this geospatial and temporal infrastructure analysis model.

Biomass Scenario Model (BSM)

Determine which supply chain changes would have the greatest potential to accelerate the deployment of biofuels.

Energy Systems Analysis

Interactive Mapping Tools

Access RE Atlas, Solar Power Prospector, PVWatts, and other popular tools that dynamically generate maps of renewable energy resources.

Regional Energy Deployment System (ReEDS)

NREL uses this multi-regional, multi-time period, GIS and linear programming model of U.S. electric sector capacity expansion to analyze critical issues in the electric sector.


Evaluate design options for both off-grid and grid-connected power systems for remote, stand-alone, and distributed generation applications. HOMER is licensed to and maintained by Homer Energy.

Buildings Industry Transportation Electricity Scenarios (BITES)

See how changes in energy demand and supply by economic sector can impact carbon dioxide emissions.


NREL uses this dispatch model to evaluate renewable generation as a function of system flexibility, and enabling technologies like demand response. Contact Paul Denholm for more information.

Stochastic Energy Deployment System (SEDS)

NREL uses this capacity-expansion model of the U.S. energy market to conduct deterministic or stochastic analysis.

Economic and Financial Analysis

Job and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) Model

Use these easy-to-use, spreadsheet-based tools to analyze the economic impacts of constructing and operating power generation and biofuel plants at the local and state level.

Cost of Renewable Energy Spreadsheet Tool (CREST)

Assess solar, wind, or geothermal projects, design cost-based incentives, and evaluate the impact of tax incentives or other support structures with this cash flow model.


Estimate the economic impacts of constructing and operating photovoltaic power generation at the local and state levels.

System Advisor Model (SAM)

Make performance predictions and cost of energy estimates for grid-connected power projects based on system design parameters that you specify.

H2A Model

Hydrogen production and delivery models used for analyzing the economics of distributed and centralized hydrogen production from various energy resources, including renewables, coal, natural gas, and biomass.

The U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, provides information on more than 200 software tools for energy analysis.