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HOMER models

micropower systems
HOMER, the micro-
with single or multiple
power sources: power optimization
model, helps you
design off-grid and
Wind turbines
Biomass power The Micropower
Optimization Model systems. You can use
Run-of-river hydro HOMER to
Diesel and other perform analyses to explore a wide range
reciprocating engines
of design questions:
• Which technologies are most cost-effective?
• What size should components be?
• What happens to the project’s economics
if costs or loads change?
Fuel cells • Is the renewable resource adequate?
HOMER’s optimization and sensitivity
analysis capabilities help you answer generators, HOMER also decides for each hour
“HOMER is an indispens- these difficult questions. how to operate the generators and whether
able tool when we talk to charge or discharge the batteries. If the
of electrification with system meets the loads for the entire year,
renewables.” HOMER estimates the lifecycle cost of the sys-
tem, accounting for the capital, replacement,
Cecilio U. Sumaoy
Cagayan Electric Power operation and maintenance, fuel and interest
& Light Co. costs. You can view hourly energy flows for
Philippines each component as well as annual cost and
performance summaries.
“I’ve found HOMER
After simulating all of the possible system
to be incredibly robust
configurations, HOMER displays a list of
and the best applica-
feasible systems, sorted by lifecycle cost.
tion available for You can easily find the least cost system at
system comparison.” the top of the list, or you can scan the list
Mick Grover We’ve designed HOMER’s input windows to for other feasible systems.
Sharp Laboratories minimize the effort required to enter data
of America, Inc. that describes loads, resources and compo-
Camas, WA
nent performance and costs. HOMER provides
default values for many inputs so that you
can quickly get started with your analysis.
“You guys are really
incredible. HOMER has
helped me solve and What does HOMER do?
lighten my workload HOMER finds the least cost combination of
problems in a faster components that meet electrical and thermal
and more efficient loads. HOMER simulates thousands of system
way. You have helped configurations, optimizes for lifecycle cost,
many RET enthusiasts, and generates results of sensitivity analyses
consultants, and stu- on most inputs.
dents.” Simulation
HOMER’s powerful graphing capability provides
Gina Saavedra Fenner HOMER simulates the operation of a system
a way for you to analyze and communicate the
Renewable Energy by making energy balance calculations for
Engineer results of your analysis.
each of the 8,760 hours in a year. For each
International Centre
for Application of Solar
hour, HOMER compares the electric and ther- Sensitivity Analysis
Energy (CASE) mal load in the hour to the energy that the Sometimes you may find it useful to see how
Perth, WA, Australia system can supply in that hour. For systems the results vary with changes in inputs, either
that include batteries or fuel-powered because they are uncertain or because they

NREL International Programs •

Ian Baring-Gould

The island of Tac, Region

de los Lagos, Chile

An optimization analysis using

HOMER showed that a wind-diesel
system with battery storage would
most cost-effectively supply the ener-
gy required by the island. HOMER’s
sensitivity analysis capability helped
the team assess the impact of fuel
price on the least-cost system design.

Rural Electrification The team also used two

other NREL models:

in the Chiloe Islands ViPOR to determine elec-

tric distribution mini-grid

costs, and Hybrid2 to

Ian Baring-Gould
he Chiloe Islands are located off the Pacific Coast of Southern
finalize the design of the
Chile. Of the more than 40 islands in the group, 32 are too
hybrid power system.
far from the coast to be connected to the mainland electric
This work helped lead
grid and either have no access to electricity, or intermittent access
to a $40 million multilat-
provided by diesel generators. The islands range in size from 12 to
eral development bank
450 homes, with projected loads ranging from 17 to 1004 kWh/day.
loan to provide rural
Economic activity on the islands includes farming, animal husbandry,
electrification projects,
and fishing. NREL, through a cooperative agreement between the
including replication of
governments of Chile and the United States, worked with a team of
this pilot project, across
local and international experts to implement a pilot hybrid power
the entire Chiloe island
system on Isla Tac, one of the Chiloe islands. The team conducted
The Isla Tac Power system region.
economic, loads, and renewable resource studies and used the
provides power to the islands’
results from those studies as inputs to HOMER.
82 families.

represent a range of applications. You can Contacts

perform a sensitivity analysis on almost Peter Lilienthal, PhD
any input by assigning more than one
value to each input of interest. HOMER Phone: (303) 384-7444
repeats the optimization process for each Fax: (303) 384-7411
value of the input so that you can exam-
ine the effect of changes in the value on Tom Lambert, P.Eng.
the results. You can specify as many
sensitivity variables as you want, and
analyze the results using HOMER’s
powerful graphing capabilities.
Downloading HOMER
HOMER is available for free on the
NREL offers training and analysis support for HOMER
HOMER Web site,
There you will find instructions for users. Here, Dr. Peter Lilienthal works with a group
downloading the software, as well as of energy professionals at Jikedian Renewable Energy
the latest information on the model, Center in Beijing, China.
National Renewable
sample files, resource data, and contact Energy Laboratory
information. If you do not have access 1617 Cole Boulevard
to the Internet, please contact us by Golden, Colorado 80401-3393
phone or mail for a copy of the software. 303-275-3000 •
Why do we call it HOMER?
How can NREL help? Because we like the classical
Operated for the U.S. Depart-
ment of Energy Office of Energy
NREL provides classroom and individu- Greek poet, and because HOMER Efficiency and Renewable Energy
alized training in the use of HOMER. originally stood for Hybrid by Midwest Research Institute •
NREL’s International Program also Optimization Model for Electric Battelle
provides broader training and assistance Renewables. But HOMER can model systems that
are not hybrids, like simple PV or diesel systems. It NREL/FS-710-35406 • March 2004
in incorporating renewable energy into
can also model thermal and hydrogen loads. We still
rural electrification programs. NREL can Printed with biodegradable ink
like the Greek theme, so we’re keeping HOMER but
customize the software for particular on paper containing at least 50%
we’re changing HOMER’s motto to the micropower
applications or perform specific analyses wastepaper, including 20% post
optimization model. consumer waste.
on request.