Tools & Templates

Greening the Grid seeks to connect energy system stakeholders to tools and templates they can use to analyze and understand DPV issues. The tools below have been developed by NREL and are used around the world for DPV analysis.

Distributed Generation Market Demand (dGen)

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

dGen simulates the potential adoption of distributed energy resources (DERs) for residential, commercial, and industrial entities in the continental United States through 2050. It's a geospatially rich, bottom-up, market-penetration model. The model can help develop deployment forecasts for wind, solar, storage, and geothermal DG, accounting for sensitivity to market and policy changes such as retail electricity rate structures, net metering, carbon taxes, and technology costs. Users outside of the U.S. can gain an understanding of how these variables impact market demand for DG. The dGen model is not publicly available at this time. If you are interested in this model, please contact NREL.

Distributed Grid Integration Unit Cost Database

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

This database contains unit cost information for components used to integrate DPV onto distribution systems. This includes regulators, capacitors, system protection, storage components, communication equipment, and software products. Anticipated lifetimes for these components is also given where available. This granular cost data allows developers to make bottom-up estimates for new DG interconnections. 

National Solar Radiation Database

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

This map-based data-visualizer presents solar radiation levels in the U.S., Latin America, and South-East Asia updated from weather measurement stations every 30-minutes. Numerous interactive layers allow users to compare solar resources on various land types, solar study areas, infrastructure, and environmental attributes. Historical datasets contain hourly solar observations and statistics for the United States between 1961-2010. Applications include near real-time forecasting of DPV generation, and information for site study.


National Renewable Energy Laboratory

PVWatts is an easy to use online application for estimating the energy production for grid-connected PV energy systems anywhere in the world. Users can compare the cost performance of different DPV siting locations and configurations against electricity purchased from the grid.  

Renewable Energy Data Explorer (RE-DE)

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

A map-based data-visualizer with renewable resource data for 12 countries and regions: Mexico, Ghana, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, the Lower Mekong Delta, Indonesia, and The Philippines. Interactive layers include multiple solar radiation models, wind speed at varying elevations above surface, transmission lines, environmental attributes including frequency of natural disasters, and administrative boundaries. Optimized to provide supply-value curve information to prospective renewable energy projects in developing countries.


National Renewable Energy Laboratory

ReOpt-Lite is an easy to use tool for commercial properties to estimate cost savings from DPV and PV plus battery storage installations in the United States. It allows users to describe their current energy profile, rate structures, and desired level of resiliency. It uses these inputs, along with resource data from PVwatts to calculate an optimal DG installation sites.

System Advisor Model (SAM)

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

SAM is an advanced software modeling package that calculates performance and financial metrics of renewable energy systems including PV, concentrating PV, solar water heating, wind, geothermal, and biomass. SAM can model a variety of financial structures for distributed projects.

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