As microgrid deployments have grown, several different organizations and National Labs have published tools to support microgrid project stakeholders during the process of development. Below is a table of publicly available microgrid design and economic feasibility tools, in alphabetical order, that were identified with input from SEPA’s Microgrid Working Group. Following the table, SEPA included the description and link to each of the tools. The functionalities of tools include:

  • A Process Template that highlights critical questions to ask stakeholders when beginning to think about resilience investments and determines a process for resilience investments. A process template can also provide customers a list of steps to take for microgrid development.
  • Outage Analysis that identifies or estimates the costs of an electric grid outage and the value of resilience investments. Tools that check off this box identify the costs of an electric grid outage at a customer’s site or an estimate of the interruption costs and/or the benefits associated with reliability improvements.
  • Sizing considerations for microgrid investments. Sizing can include analyzing a site for the incorporation of new distributed energy resources (DER) to meet the site’s demand.
  • Grid Power Flow to simulate the power engineering of a potential microgrid. Grid Power Flow includes tools that have the capability to run grid simulations that can support voltage regulation analysis and real and reactive power analysis.
  • Financial Analysis that identifies the benefits and costs of incorporating resilience solutions like a microgrid. A financial analysis can include cash flows, net present value (NPV), and benefit cost ratios that provide
  • DER Optimization that identifies the most value of resources on site. DER Optimization can include the incorporation of weather forecasts to time battery charge/discharge. DER Optimization can also maximize value according to certain parameters that are set, e.g. Demand charge management, resilience, etc.
Links and Descriptions of Microgrid Feasibility Tools

Business Resilience Calculator (BRC)

Author: Professors and researchers at Ohio State University, University of Southern California, and NIST

The Business Resilience Calculator (BRC) is a decision-support tool that businesses can use to evaluate their capability to respond to disasters and to help guide improvement in their business continuity.

Customer Damage Function Calculator

Author: National Renewable Energy Laboratory

The Customer Damage Function (CDF) Calculator is a resource for facility owners and resilience planners to understand the costs of an electric grid outage at their site. The calculator provides a process to discover facility outage vulnerabilities and estimates how costs vary with outage duration.


Author: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

The Distributed Energy Resources Customer Adoption Model (DER-CAM) is a decision support tool that primarily serves the purpose of finding optimal distributed energy resource (DER) investments in the context of either buildings or multi-energy microgrids.


Author: EPRI

EPRI’s DER-VET is a free, publicly accessible, open-source platform for calculating, understanding, and optimizing the value of distributed energy resources (DER) based on their technical merits and constraints. The platform also supports site-specific assessments of energy storage and additional DER technologies.

HOMER Grid + Homer Pro® Microgrid Software

Author: Homer

Homer Grid combines engineering and economics to perform complex calculations enabling customers to compare design outcomes and consider options for minimizing project risk and reducing energy expenditures. Homer Pro Microgrid Software creates microgrid design in all sectors, from village power and island utilities to grid-connected campuses and military bases. The software was originally developed at National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and enhanced and distributed by HOMER Energy.

Interruption Cost Estimate (ICE) Calculator

Author: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

The Interruption Cost Estimate (ICE) Calculator is a tool designed for electric reliability planners at utilities, government organizations or other entities that are interested in estimating interruption costs and/or the benefits associated with reliability improvements.

Microgrid Assisted Design for Remote Areas (MADRA) Planning & Design

Author: Oak Ridge National Lab

MADRA is an open-source microgrid design tool by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. MADRA is capable of providing professional analysis for designers to make design decisions that satisfy user-defined objectives and constraints for costs and reliability. With typically available resources and load profiles of various remote communities, MADRA evaluates the financial feasibility and provides the optimal microgrid design. This includes the siting and sizing of each technology, the installation and operation cost of these technologies and/or the present values of future energy cost.

Microgrid Design Framework

Author: Smart Electric Power Alliance

SEPA’s Microgrid Design Framework identifies a list of questions that utilities and third-parties can reference when engaging with stakeholders on resilience investments. The questions identify whether a microgrid is the best resilience solution for an identified problem or if the problem can be addressed by non-microgrid resilience solutions, like distribution and transmission grid upgrades.

Microgrid Pre-feasibility Toolkit

Author: IEEE Working Group on Sustainable Energy Systems for Developing Communities Microgrid

The Microgrid Economic Model is a lightweight Excel-based techno-economic model developed with the community and supportive organizations (such as NGOs) in mind. It offers a simplified yet sufficient analysis of a proposed renewable community energy system to entice more professional support. This Model takes information about costs for equipment and operations and maintenance, projected revenue from electricity sales, and projections about the amount of electricity supplied and consumed. From this, the Model calculates basic economic information about the system that prospective funders need to know: net present value (NPV), annual and cumulative cash flows, and internal rate of return (IRR). Other current features of the Model include a built-in scale-up assumption, variable tariff rate options, and avoided carbon emissions.

Microgrid Design Toolkit (MDT)

Author: Sandia National Lab

Sandia’s MDT is intended for use in the early stages of the design process. The MDT uses powerful search algorithms to identify and characterize alternative microgrid design decisions in terms of user-defined objectives such as cost, performance, and reliability.

Optimal Resiliency Model Design Tool (LPNORM)

Author: Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), and National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA)

Description: The LPNORM software tool is focused on designing resilient distribution grids. Specifically, it seeks to support meeting the MYPP goal and DOE major outcome of achieving a 10% reduction in economic costs of power outages by 2025. It is being designed as an open-source distribution resilient design tool and is deployed on National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA’s) Open Modeling Framework (OMF)

Remote Off-Grid Microgrids Design Support Tool (ROMDST)

Author: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

LBNL’s ROMDST is an advanced optimization-based design support tool for AC or DC microgrids in remote locations, where utility grids may not be accessible.


Author: National Renewable Energy Laboratory

The REopt® platform and accompanying analysis services optimize planning of generation, storage, and controllable loads to maximize the value of integrated distributed energy systems for buildings, campuses, and microgrids.

System Advisor Model (SAM)

Author: National Renewable Energy Laboratory

The System Advisor Model (SAM) is a free techno-economic software model that facilitates decision-making for people in the renewable energy industry. SAM can model many types of renewable energy systems including: Photovoltaic systems, from small residential rooftop to large utility-scale systems Battery storage with Lithium ion, lead acid, or flow batteries for front-of-meter or behind-the-meter applications Concentrating Solar Power systems for electric power generation, including parabolic trough, power tower, and linear Fresnel Industrial process heat from parabolic trough and linear Fresnel systems Wind power, from individual turbines to large wind farms Marine energy wave and tidal systems Solar water heating Fuel cells Geothermal power generation Biomass combustion for power generation High concentration photovoltaic systems