HOMER Pro, a rebuild of the HOMER software for economic optimization of microgrids, was released this week by HOMER Energy LLC, a leading microgrid modeling software company. The HOMER (Hybrid Optimization of Multiple Energy Resources) software is the global standard for early stage microgrid design and analysis.
Originally developed at the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, HOMER was licensed to HOMER Energy LLC in 2009, setting the stage for the development of HOMER Pro.
Understanding what combination of microgrid will work where can be highly complex, and that's where HOMER can help since it is a decision analysis tool for microgrids of varying shapes and sizes.
Different focus on hybrid renewable microgrids
HOMER is different from other tools in the renewable energy analysis space in its focus on hybrid renewable microgrids, those that combine multiple energy and storage sources, such as wind with solar photovoltaics and batteries.
The solution is a chronological simulation, optimization, and decision analysis tool that bridges the gap between financial spreadsheet and complex engineering tools.
A popular application for HOMER is in remote locations that have depended solely on diesel (or other liquid fuel sources) for their electricity generation. Increases in diesel fuel prices in recent years have been crippling for many of these areas. The absence of grid connectivity in isolated and rural areas — especially in developing countries — is forcing end users to retrofit or replace the diesel generator set with cost-effective and efficient hybrid power systems. [Engerati- Clean energy hybrid mini-grids in remote areas: an efficient cost effective solution.]
HOMER allows the analysis and comparison of an almost infinite number of options for these locations, and determines which combination will reliably meet the electricity requirements for the lowest cost.
HOMER is also used for grid-connected systems, where it is used to increase system resilience and security. Engerati has recently written a number of articles pertaining to the microgrid’s benefits and how these can benefit the overall electricity system. One such example is Engerati’s The Smarter Microgrid is the Future.
Unique solutions for a growing microgrid market
"We are excited about the release of this innovative product, which takes HOMER to a whole new level," said Dr. Peter Lilienthal, HOMER Energy CEO and original creator of HOMER. "HOMER Pro makes it much easier for us to work with our industry partners on getting their unique solutions and approaches into HOMER. That was much more difficult with earlier versions." Engerati wrote recently about HOMER Energy establishing a partnership of companies that are involved in the development of microgrids and distributed renewable energy technologies.
The current partners include the global power companies ABB and Schneider Electric; battery and other storage providers Trojan Battery, American Vanadium, Discover Energy and Shipstone Energy Storage Systems; solar power product provider GoSol Power; and renewable and energy product and services providers Leonics, Cadmus and Sustainable Power Systems. [Engerati - Energy Firms Partner To Enhance Microgrid Delivery.]
The need for a new edition of HOMER is driven by the burgeoning microgrid market, which, although still in its infancy, is growing rapidly. According to Navigant Research, the market is moving into full commercialization mode and is expected to surpass US$40 billion in value by 2020.
HOMER Pro runs on Windows operating systems and can be downloaded from the HOMER Energy website.