Odyssey Streamlines Microgrid Financing in Africa Using UL’s HOMER® Application Programming Interface (API)

Solar microgrid developers in Nigeria are getting needed help to move their project proposals forward.

The assistance begins with an opportunity to apply for project financing through the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP) — a financing mechanism implemented by Rural Electrification Agency (REA) in collaboration with the World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB).

But the NEP application process requires developers to complete and submit a project design with each project proposal submitted — a complex process that is challenging and time-consuming. NEP offers Odyssey Energy Solutions to ease the complexity. The technology platform, Odyssey, empowers project developers to create site designs using HOMER software’s optimization model.

The need to simplify renewable energy site design

Volumes of paperwork and spreadsheets have long been a hallmark of microgrid financing and development.  But inefficiencies and potential information discrepancies inherent in the paper process have hindered developers in designing complex generation systems and distribution networks.

The difficulties don’t stop with the developers. The paper process is also problematic for financiers since it does not enable investors to get a full, real-time view of their project portfolios.

Odyssey’s technology platform empowers project developers to create microgrid site designs using HOMER software’s optimization model.

How the Odyssey platform works

Odyssey provides an investment and asset management platform to finance, build and operate distributed energy projects at scale. The platform’s use in the NEP project is a comprehensive example of how Odyssey facilitates streamlined project financing.

REA and World Bank chose Odyssey’s investment and asset management platform to digitize mini-grid financing, which provided significant advantages. The data is now in one central location and processed with sophisticated analytics, resulting in the efficient deployment of NEP funding.

“Odyssey is jumpstarting the African microgrid market,” said Peter Lilienthal, microgrid lead at UL and creator of HOMER software, which is integrated with the Odyssey platform. Lilienthal holds a doctorate in management science and engineering. “Often, for these projects, the barrier is putting together a package for financing and Odyssey removes that barrier. Using UL’s HOMER API is a natural integration for feasibility studies and planning specific sites,” he said.

HOMER’s optimization model identifies the least-cost microgrid design within a given set of parameters and allows users to adjust assumptions and build simulations of how a system would perform. If a developer wants to add additional or more specific assumptions — such as solar insolation of the site location at various times of the year — they can import the files into HOMER Pro for further analysis.  A HOMER Pro license is required to import the files into HOMER Pro.

 “Odyssey’s goal is to make it very easy for project developers to access available capital, participate in financing programs and get minigrid sites up and running,” McAteer described. “As developers plan out their sites, Odyssey’s integration with HOMER allows them to understand the costs of their projects, based on various assumptions, like materials, equipment, expected demand and design.”     

The first microgrid funded by an NEP Performance-Based Grant was commissioned in Nigeria on Dec. 7, 2019.

“The transparency and speed of the NEP process is due to the Odyssey e-procurement method we utilized,” said Damilola Ogunbiyi, former CEO of REA. “We could not have achieved this through traditional manual methods.”

UL Solutions’ HOMER® Pro is the leading pre-feasibility design software for modeling microgrids, with more than 250,000 users in more than 190 countries. It provides engineering and financial analyses of remote, off-grid and grid-tied complex distributed energy systems, helping reduce financial risk for owners and developers. Learn more about HOMER Pro and download a complimentary trial.


    1. Hi Bancha,
      Thank you very much for this comment. I wish you all the best with your work on microgrids in Thailand.

      Lili Francklyn

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