New UL Tool Helps Developers Optimize Renewable Power Systems


HOMER Energy by UL, a developer of energy modeling software, has unveiled its newest service – HOMER Front + UL Analysis. 

The new capability helps energy developers design and optimize the complexities of front-of-the-meter utility-scale renewable hybrid power systems that include wind, solar and battery energy storage systems (BESS). HOMER Front + UL Analysis meets an increasingly critical need as power providers seek to improve power supply stability and resilience, decarbonize energy resources and move toward a clean energy transition.

Recent catastrophic weather and fire events resulted in massive power outages and demonstrated the value of resilience provided by hybrid power systems integrated into a diversified energy grid. These hybrid power systems bolster the power grid with flexibility, resilience, demand management and price management.

“We’re pleased to provide a modeling and analysis service which can help give developers confidence that their solar+storage and wind+storage systems will meet financial requirements and provide a stable and greener power supply,” says Peter Lilienthal, founder of HOMER Energy. “It is the key to meeting the increasing need for flexible energy resources. As energy and power markets evolve and batteries improve in cost and performance, utility-scale hybrid systems are becoming more common.”

Using proprietary HOMER Front software, UL advisory experts perform techno-economic modeling of a renewable generation plus BESS. Through this analysis, developers can optimize wind, solar and energy storage sizing, evaluate financial returns and determine the economic viability of a system, screen projects to determine site development potential, validate revenue projections, and evaluate potential profitability of energy markets, capacity markets and power purchase agreements. HOMER Front + UL Analysis combines the proven technology of HOMER software with UL’s advisory background in renewable energy performance and long-standing reputation as independent engineers in wind, solar and energy storage.

Growth in utility-scale storage surged in the third quarter of 2020, increasing more than 240% quarter-over-quarter in California alone, according to Wood Mackenzie’s Fourth Quarter 2020 US Energy Storage Monitor. Projections show the trend continuing worldwide and becoming pervasive across energy markets. 

To provide details on a hybrid system’s financial metrics, HOMER Front models time of delivery power purchase agreements, energy shifting arbitrage for the wholesale energy market including day-ahead and real-time markets, and capacity reserve markets such as resource adequacy (RA) in the California Independent System Operator market (CAISO). 

Energy developers will gain economic insight into utility-scale systems powered by solar, wind and energy storage including:

  • Detailed analysis of battery operation, PV production and profitability of energy sales into energy markets
  • A customizable component library with HOMER’s advanced storage model including energy storage capacity degradation, and augmentation and replacement strategies
  • Modeling energy and capacity markets including contracted revenue as well as merchant revenue and integration of locational marginal pricing (hourly and sub-hourly) and resource generation data 

Originally developed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), HOMER software has been downloaded more than 250,000 times and has modeled more than 90,000 projects in over 190 countries. Products include HOMER Pro for standalone microgrids and DERs and HOMER Grid, which helps grid-connected commercial and industrial customers design hybrid renewable energy systems that save on electricity bills, reduce peak loads and lower carbon footprints.

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