HOMER Grid Users Can Now Design Custom Microgrid Control Strategies

Boulder, CO, April 13, 2020 — HOMER Energy by UL recently released two powerful, customizable Controller APIs that give users the ability to create and simulate their own dispatch strategy in HOMER Grid, software for modeling the design of behind-the-meter distributed energy systems.

With these features, users can override the proprietary default control algorithm in HOMER Grid and write logic to determine when components of a hybrid power system—such as solar PV, batteries or grid power—should serve the electric load. Developers and researchers gain complete control over how their energy system is simulated. They can then evaluate how changes in operation—or dispatch strategies—impact the cost of operating the system.

Controller customization is available in software version 1.7 through two options: MATLAB® Link, a controller API included in HOMER Grid; and the C++ Controller API, which is available as an add-on. To use MATLAB Link, users also need a license for MATLAB engineering software.

By design, HOMER Grid allows users to model and simulate distributed hybrid energy systems. Commercial and industrial utility customers can then cut demand charges and energy costs and model systems that can provide extended backup power in a grid outage. HOMER Grid’s default controller balances self-generation with the use of grid power for many system designs and determines the solution with the best financial outcome.

“The dispatch or control algorithms of HOMER Grid are the core of our software. Because the market and technology are changing quickly, we wanted to give our customers greater ability to customize the power of HOMER, whether they design projects or components or perform research,” said Peter Lilienthal, Ph.D., CEO, HOMER Energy by UL.

Using the MATLAB Link feature, all HOMER Grid users can quickly write custom controller algorithms and test them with different system configurations. With the new C++ Controller API add-on feature in HOMER Grid, companies can showcase their controller products to the HOMER user base. The Controller API allows users to write and compile a custom controller in C++, which runs substantially faster than MATLAB, and protects proprietary code. The custom controller can then be distributed publicly with HOMER software for all users to consider as potential solutions in their systems.

HOMER Grid’s user manual provides extensive documentation describing 250 parameters that users can leverage to define their custom algorithm in MATLAB.  For users new to Matlab programming language, Premium Support can be used for MATLAB help. Two hours of Premium Support are included in an annual HOMER Grid purchase.

About HOMER Energy by UL

HOMER Energy by UL develops and distributes HOMER software, a global standard for energy modeling tools that analyze solar-plus-storage, microgrids, and other distributed energy projects. HOMER Grid, aimed at the behind-the-meter solar-plus-storage market, helps commercial and industrial customers design hybrid renewable energy systems that save on electricity bills and lower carbon footprints. HOMER® Pro simulates the engineering and economic feasibility of complex off-grid and grid-tied distributed energy systems that combine conventional and renewable power, storage, and load management. Based in Boulder, Colorado, we have over 200,000 users in more than 190 countries. Learn more at HomerEnergy.com.

About UL 

UL helps create a better world by applying science to solve safety, security and sustainability challenges. We empower trust by enabling the safe adoption of innovative new products and technologies. Everyone at UL shares a passion to make the world a safer place. All of our work, from independent research and standards development, to testing and certification, to providing analytical and digital solutions, helps improve global well-being. Businesses, industries, governments, regulatory authorities and the public put their trust in us so they can make smarter decisions. To learn more, visit UL.com. To learn more about our nonprofit activities, visit UL.org

UL Solutions HOMER Grid is a market-leading solar-plus-storage software tool for designing grid-tied distributed energy systems. With an integrated utility tariff database and a new module for electric vehicle charging stations, it optimizes peak shaving to help commercial and industrial utility customers lower their demand charges. HOMER Grid can model projects with wind and combined heat and power as well as islanded systems, helping users improve their resiliency. Explore your opportunities with HOMER Grid during a complimentary trial. Learn more and download your complimentary trial.