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REopt News Stories

The following stories feature REopt™ and REopt Lite™ news and announcements.

Energy Department Announces Addition of Combined Heat and Power to Clean Energy Modeling Web Tool

Feb. 12, 2021, EIN News — The U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Manufacturing Office announced the addition of combined heat and power (CHP) modeling capabilities to the REopt Lite web tool. 

REopt Lite Adds a Fresh Dimension: Combined Heat and Power

Feb. 8, 2021, NREL Program News — In its latest release, the REopt Lite team, which includes NREL and partners at Colorado School of Mines and Clean Energy Group, has added CHP, expanding the model's scope beyond electric-only strategies to include a new universe of thermal energy opportunities. A well-designed CHP system can be more than twice as efficient as a traditional fossil fuel plant and complementary to renewable energy and storage systems. And a major resiliency benefit of CHP is that it leverages fossil- or renewable-based fuels to provide dispatchable power. CHP's stable and reliable generation can temper renewable's intermittency or supplement it during a grid outage.

REopt Lite Goes Open Source: Now Programmers, Software Developers, and Researchers Can Access the Code Behind the Web Tool

Feb. 26, 2020, NREL Program News — Complex models, robust data sets, custom capabilities—now users with the know-how can dig into the code behind the REopt Lite web tool and create something new. REopt Lite Open Source is the latest addition to the suite of ways to use REopt Lite for research, analysis, and project development. Find out more about how to access and use the open source code in NREL's REopt Lite Open Source webinar, recorded on March 17, 2020.

Think Distributed Solar-Plus-Storage Isn’t Cost-Effective? Think Again.

Jan. 23, 2020, Rocky Mountain Institute — Battery energy storage costs are less than a fifth of what they were a decade ago. This is enabling batteries to become cost-effective in a growing list of locations and use cases, such as balancing the grid, reducing customer demand peaks, and providing backup power. In particular, behind-the-meter solar-plus-storage can often deliver bill savings for large commercial and industrial users that have high demand charges—typically greater than $10–$15 per kilowatt (kW)—or have time-of-use utility rates. RMI used NREL’s REopt Lite online tool to quantify customer cost savings from solar-plus-storage.

REopt Lite Evolves To Address User Priorities: New Tool Features Help Building Owners Further Explore Costs and Benefits of Resilience and More

Dec. 5, 2019, NREL Program News — In addition to incorporating time-saving features and detailed guidance for international use, the latest REopt Lite upgrades (released in October 2019) address federal agencies’ growing focus on providing backup power to sustain critical load during outages. Expanded resilience results enable users to optimally size new diesel generation and better understand the benefits and tradeoffs of resilience. The tool’s more robust resilience capabilities include new graphics that allow users to see the expected performance of a proposed system over a range of outages starting at different times of the year. Users can also compare systems that prioritize economic savings to those designed to maximize resilience to evaluate the costs and benefits of various options, and default values for technology costs are updated based on the latest market reports.

Solar Performance, Buying, Reliability, and Maintenance in Photovoltaics: A Review of Practical Solar Information for Investors, Consumers, Engineers, and Installers

Accessed October 2019, American Solar Energy Society — A report provides a brief review of practical information on PV solar, including performance, quality assurance, installation, asset protection, and maintenance for stakeholders. This report was sponsored by Complex Review and summarizes technical work completed by various research groups including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

REopt Lite Adds Custom Electricity Rates and an Integrated Critical Load Builder

March 6, 2019, NREL Program News — Building owners and energy managers looking to evaluate renewable energy and storage economics for their site can use REopt Lite's custom utility rate tariff capabilities and an integrated critical load profile builder—new features that allow a more detailed energy analysis without leaving the tool.

REopt Lite Adds New Energy Optimization Capabilities with Wind, Custom Rate Tariff, Critical Load Builder, and User Dashboard

Nov. 5, 2018, NREL Program News — In its ongoing effort to support energy cost savings and resilience for commercial buildings, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL’s) REopt Lite web tool now offers a new wind optimization module, custom utility rate tariffs, a critical building load profile builder, and a user dashboard. With this latest release of capabilities, building owners and energy managers can use REopt Lite to evaluate the economic viability of distributed wind alongside PV and battery storage at a site, and further diversify resilient power technologies.

Adding Businesses to Microgrids Helps Financial Viability

Aug. 21, 2018, PV Magazine Adding energy-intensive industries to microgrids can help refinance system costs and can lower tariffs for residential consumers, a study suggests. To achieve this though, accurate system design and sizing are essential. According to a new report by Energy 4 Impact, the business case for microgrids in rural Africa improves with the addition of “productive use of energy” (PUE). The authors of the study—produced with the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in support of Power Africa’s Beyond the Grid Program—say the increased use of energy by small agriculture, sawmills and other businesses will help pay off the capital costs of microgrids faster, and thus help reduce energy costs for all users.

NREL Improves Tool for Solar-Plus-Storage Analysis

June 15, 2018, Engineering 360 The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has rolled out improvements to REopt Lite, a web-based tool for solar photovoltaics (PV) and battery storage optimization. The tool now offers enhanced resilience analysis capabilities that allow building owners and energy managers to size PV and storage systems to meet a specified outage duration.

Product Announcement: REopt Lite’s Fresh Features Gauge Costs of Solar+Storage, Bypass Pricey Experts

June 13, 2018, Energy Manager Today A new tool is available for building owners and energy managers that will allow them to easily evaluate the costs and benefits of solar photovoltaic and battery storage systems (solar+storage) to power critical building loads when grid outages occur. The newly released features of the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) online solar+storage optimization tool, REopt Lite offers enhanced resilient design capabilities developed in collaboration with Clean Energy Group through its Resilient Power Project.

Enhanced Resilience Features Help REopt Lite Users Size Solar+Storage Systems to Support Critical Building Loads

June 2018, NREL Program News — REopt Lite, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL’s) solar photovoltaics (PV) and battery storage optimization web tool, now offers enhanced resilience analysis capabilities that allow building owners and energy managers to size PV and storage systems to meet a specified outage duration. By giving users the ability to compare the sizing and costs of a resilient system with a system sized to maximize savings, the new release of REopt Lite will help decision-makers identify potential cost gaps and balance their economic and resilience goals.

REopt Lite’s Application Programming Interface Boosts Solar+Storage Analysis Flexibility

June 2018, NREL Program News — The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released an application programming interface (API) for its REopt Lite solar photovoltaics (PV) and battery storage optimization web tool. The API enables streamlined integration with other tools inside and outside NREL, allowing building owners and researchers to evaluate the economics of grid-connected solar PV and battery storage (solar+storage) at multiple commercial sites and perform sensitivity analyses in an efficient manner.

Q&A with Andy Walker: The Ins and Outs of Renewable Energy Optimization

April 30, 2018, NREL Program News — Andy Walker is a recently appointed research fellow at NREL and the creator of Renewable Energy Optimization (REO), for which he holds a patent. REO techniques inform institutions across the world, from businesses such as Frito-Lay to government policies such as the U.S. Air Force’s approach to on-site generation. REO has since been developed by NREL staff to become the REopt tool.

Thinking Creatively about Residential Solar PV System Optimization: The Solar Plus Approach

March 27, 2018, Science Trends — Grid-tied residential solar photovoltaic (PV) systems reduce customer grid electricity costs. In most major PV markets, customers are also compensated for PV output exported to the grid. Grid export compensation rates are falling around the world, meaning that customers face incentives to increase self-­use and reduce grid exports. However, the ability of customers to self-use PV output is limited by the instantaneous nature of electricity generation: PV output generated by the midday sun is no longer available for self-­use later in the day and evening. Researchers at the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are exploring ways to increase the value of PV through integration with devices that increase self-­use. PV-­paired batteries can be charged with the midday sun then discharged later in the day, allowing customers to self-­use PV output long after the sun has set. In addition to batteries, load control devices allow customers to synchronize home appliances with PV output.

NREL's Energy Storage and REopt Teams Awarded $525k from TCF to Study Commercial Viability of Optimal, Reliable Building-Integrated Energy Storage

Nov. 14, 2017, NREL Program News — NREL's Energy Storage and REopt Teams are recipients of a $525k monetary award to commercialize building-integrated energy storage control strategies, working with private industry partner, Eaton Corporation. Ying Shi and Kandler Smith from the Transportation & Hydrogen Systems Center will develop energy storage control strategies informed by techno-economic analysis from Dylan Cutler and Kate Anderson's energy decision science and resilience work in NREL's Integrated Applications Center.

New REopt Lite Tool Allows Building Owners to Optimize PV and Battery System Sizes

Oct. 2, 2017, NREL Program News — The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL’s) new REopt Lite web tool (beta version) helps building owners evaluate the economics of grid-connected solar photovoltaics (PV) and battery storage at commercial sites. It identifies the optimal PV and battery system sizes and dispatch strategy to minimize the life cycle cost of energy at a specific site. The web tool also estimates the amount of time a PV and battery system can sustain the site's critical load during a grid outage. REopt Lite is a publicly available web version of NREL’s more comprehensive REopt model.