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News Release: NREL Releases New Version of Energy Evaluation Software

Jan. 4, 2005

Golden, Colo. — Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently released Version 2.1 of HOMER, a micropower optimization software model that simplifies the task of evaluating design options for both off-grid and grid-connected power systems.

Users supply information about electrical loads, renewable resources and component costs and HOMER simulates multiple designs and generates an optimized list of options that can serve those loads. It is valuable for evaluating remote, stand-alone and distributed generation power applications.

The upgraded software includes the following new features:

  • Time of use and seasonal grid power rates
  • Scheduled generator operation
  • Hydrogen production, storage, delivery, and demand
  • One-click access to NREL and NASA solar resource databases
  • Modeling of pollutants, including carbon dioxide, nitrogen, sulfur oxide, carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons and particulate emissions
  • Interface improvements for ease of use
  • Updated Help system

More than 6,000 people in 162 countries have downloaded the software to date. HOMER users are energy planners, academics and engineers in both the private and public sectors.

NREL has provided HOMER training for energy planners to support rural electrification efforts in several countries. In Sri Lanka and the Maldives, HOMER training was part of NREL's rural energy-training package that also covered resource assessment and data preparation, renewable energy technology overviews, and hybrid power system design. In Mexico, NREL staff taught a local trainer to use HOMER so he can provide training services as part of the national secretariat of energy's (SENER) efforts to include renewables in rural electrification projects. Both projects were supported by the USAID.

In January 2005, NREL will conduct HOMER training as part of a broader rural energy-training program in Brasilia and Manaus Brazil, in a USAID-funded effort to support the government of Brazil's rural electrification program.

For more information about HOMER, or to download the free software, please visit Visitors will find instructions for downloading the software and the latest information on the model, sample files, resource data and contact information.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by Midwest Research Institute and Battelle.

—Sarah Barba