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HOMER Energy
HOMER News -- May 2011  
In This Issue

Plug-In Vehicles
Clean Power Everywhere
HOMER Online Training
HOMER Tip: Sample Files
Win a Wind Turbine!

Upcoming Events

Renewable Energy World, Europe
Milan, Italy
June 7-9, 2011

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We provide a range of broader services related to distributed and renewable energy including strategic planning, market analysis, and economic and technical analysis of individual projects. Call us at 1-720-565-4046, or email to get started.

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A Little Storage Goes a Long Way
Plug-in Vehicles and Renewables Work Together
Plug-In Vehicle at Charging Station
Plug-In Vehicle with Charging Station

The inherent variability of solar and wind resources is a challenge to achieving high contributions of these resources on any electric grid. Storage is an obvious answer to that challenge, but most people will be surprised at how little storage is needed to stabilize a grid in the presence of a variable resource.

Conventional generators are well suited to cover longer periods when the renewable resource is unavailable. It is the rapid fluctuations that are a challenge for conventional generation. It is also inefficient to keep generators on-line just as a contingency reserve.

A couple of minutes of energy storage is all that is needed to safely turn off quick starting generators like diesels. This generates a lot of cost savings without requiring a lot of battery throughput. Although there are many ways that this kind of short term storage can be provided, plug-in vehicles are an intriguing possibility.

HOMER Energy CEO, Dr. Peter Lilienthal, recently gave a plenary speech on the grid stability value of the short term storage that plug-in vehicles can provide at the Automotive Research Center annual conference. You can view Dr. Lilienthal's presentation here.

Do you have an analytical need that needs to be treated a little differently from the public version of HOMER? We also create custom and enhanced versions for specific needs. Let us know if we can help. Contact us at +1-720-565-4046 or to learn more.

Download HOMER
We Need Your Help to
Bring Clean Power Everywhere
Sara Ruto
Sara Ruto displays the solar panel on her roof in Kiptusuri, Kenya. (New York Times)

Our tagline at HOMER Energy is "Clean Power Everywhere," and we take the word Everywhere seriously. HOMER Energy LLC is a for-profit company, and we depend on your license purchases and consulting contracts to be able to continue operating as well as upgrading and distributing HOMER. But we are committed to continuing to distribute the legacy version of HOMER at no cost - in perpetuity.

As we prepare for the release of our first major commercial upgrade of the HOMER software, we are simultaneously making plans to make HOMER more readily available in and more helpful to users in developing countries. We will be updating you on these developments and how you can be involved in future newsletters.

Meanwhile, we have a specific request. One of our employees is earning his Masters in Information Communication Technology for Development at the University of Colorado. He is spending the summer developing a mobile application that will be used to gather data about the energy needs of populations that do not have central energy sources.

If you live or work in a developing country, please help make renewable power more broadly available by filling out this very short survey:

HOMER Online Training

Have you downloaded HOMER and found you need help getting started? There is a lot to this feature-rich software that helps you design hybrid renewable energy systems and estimate their financial feasibility. Online training courses are perfect for the beginner HOMER user. You will be taken through the design of a system using HOMER from beginning to end.

We will use HOMER 2 (v2.81) as a basis for the training, but HOMER Legacy (v2.68) users should be able to follow along and complete the exercises as well. A live instructor will lead you through the process and address your specific needs. Each session has a maximum of 22 participants, so you'll get personalized attention. We have multiple training sessions throughout May and June. Please check our catalog now and reserve your place!

Using Sample and Resources Files

Graphing with HOMER software

Last month we introduced you to our new Sample Files page on our website, where you can get pre-worked HOMER examples without logging in. Happily, many of you took advantage of this and downloaded the sample files.

We have had a few support questions come up surrounding the sample files and how to use them. The main reason to use a sample file is to see a completed example of how HOMER was used to model a system that might be similar to yours. When you are first learning HOMER, starting with a completed example is much easier than trying to completely build a system from scratch.

Frequently asked question how to find resource data

The sample files are not meant to be a substitute for resource data. The sample files are more helpful as a way of understanding how HOMER models systems. We have had a few people ask us if there are sample files available for their location so that they could use the resource data. You will do much better eith your own resource data. There is a section in the included help file (within HOMER) on how to get resource data.

Within HOMER, select the Help menu, then look for "Frequently Asked Questions" on the left. You'll see the link to select "Where can I find data to run HOMER?" on the right side. There are many resources available to help you.

Do you have a tip for HOMER users? If so, please share it with us in the HOMER users community here.

Wind Turbine Opportunity Still Available
SouthWest AirBreeze

In the April 2011 newsletter we announced that XANT was seeking feedback from current users of wind-diesel technology. In exchange for just a few minutes of your time, they are giving you an opportunity to win a SouthWest Windpower Air Breeze turbine. If you are a wind-diesel user, and you have not already participated, please take the survey now. One survey respondent will be randomly chosen to win a SouthWest Windpower Air Breeze.

The survey will close in mid-June, so don't wait. Take the survey now.