Click on the resource titles below to access supplemental tools.

Resource Link Resource Description Date Added
PVMapper is a web-based Geographic Information System (GIS) project planning application designed to help solar energy developers better locate and plan large-scale solar utility projects. 
March, 2014
The levelized cost of energy calculator provides a simple calculator for both utility-scale and distributed generation renewable energy technologies that compares the combination of capital costs, operation and maintenance, performance, and fuel costs.
January, 2014
The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) has worked with the Geographic Information System (GIS) staff at the NREL to create federal energy management program maps showing the market potential for various solar technologies throughout the country.
September, 2013
This graph shows the daily aggregate output from renewables connected to the California ISO grid.
September, 2013
SolarPermit.org is an online database of solar permitting requirements for cities and counties. Developed by Clean Power Finance with support from a Department of Energy grant, SolarPermit.org uses an interactive, crowd-sourced platform that allows users of the database keep the information up-to-date and relevant. 
August, 2013
Advanced Energy Economy's and Colorado State University's database, the Advanced Energy Legislation Tracker, contains information on energy legislation in all fifty states, which can be sorted by state, keyword, and policy area.
June 2013
These free podcasts, hosted by Accenture, go over various utility topics including renewable energy and energy efficiency.
May 2013
This map illustrates the coming of cost-competitive solar based on a comparison of the unsubsidized cost of solar electricity with retail electricity prices of all 3,100 utilities in the U.S.
February 2013
DOE recently launched an interactive feature on the SunShot website which allows the public to read and submit questions related to solar energy technologies and policies. Submit your questions, and receive responses from experts at organizations including NREL, SEPA, IREC, The Solar Foundation, North Carolina Solar Center, Meisters
Consultants Group, and others.
October 2012
The Transparent Cost Database collects program cost and performance estimates for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies that can be viewed and
compared to other published estimates. The database includes literature on
technology cost and performance estimates for vehicles, biofuels, and electricity generation.
August 2012
The Renewable Resource Data Center at NREL has compiled this comprehensive glossary of terms associated with solar radiation and solar electric power generation.
July 2012
This calculator is a tool for utilities to evaluate the viability of a renewable energy
project for bid into the California Renewable Portfolio Standard. The calculator measures the strengths and weaknesses of the project in key areas of renewable project development.
July 2012
This tool has been designed to help state regulators, energy officials, and the renewable energy community analyze project
costs, develop cost-based incentives, and evaluate the impact of tax incentives or other support structures. The Cost of Renewable Energy Spreadsheet Tool (CREST) is available in solar, wind, and geothermal versions.
July 2012
NREL's REFTI is designed to identify best practices for financing renewables. It tracks the evolution of renewable electricity project finance as the industry matures. The goal of the project is to inform investors, developers, policymakers, utilities, and the broader public on how projects are crossing critical thresholds of project finance.
July 2012
The DOE, BLM and DOI jointly developed a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement
(PEIS) to evaluate utility-scale solar energy development, to develop and implement Agency-specific programs that would establish environmental policies and mitigation strategies for solar energy projects, and to amend relevant BLM land use plans with the consideration of establishing a new BLM solar energy development program.
July 2012
This interactive resource using Google Earth helps environmentalists, renewable energy developers,
utility companies and others find the best sites for new clean energy projects and transmission lines.
July 2012
This initiative identifies the renewable energy potential of current and formerly contaminated land and mine sites and provides other useful resources for
communities, developers, industries, states and local governments or anyone interested in repurposing these sites for renewable energy development.
July 2012
This series of slides and videos cover important power purchasing agreement business practices and points of consideration.
February 2012
This database provides GIS data that helps identify appropriate sites for renewable energy projects that avoid interfering with military activities and training, and
have the fewest environmental conflicts.
February 2012
The Renewable Energy Atlas is an interactive mapping tool that maps renewable
energy resource potential in the US. The mapping tool covers wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass resources.
February 2012
This spreadsheet calculates the value of a new or existing PV system installed on residential and commercial properties. This tool is designed to be used by real estate appraisers, mortgage underwriters, credit analysts, real property assessors, insurance claims adjusters and PV industry sales staff.
February 2012
SolTrace is a software tool that models concentrating solar power systems and analyzes their optical performance. The software can be used to model parabolic trough collectors, linear Fresnel lens systems, power tower geometries, and point-focus optical systems.
November 2011
NREL's PVWatts calculator determines the energy production and cost savings of grid-connected PV systems throughout the world. It allows homeowners, installers, manufacturers, and researchers to easily develop estimates of the performance of hypothetical PV installations.
February 2011
Solar maps provide monthly average daily total solar resource information on grid
cells. The insolation values represent the resource available to a flat plate collector,
such as a photovoltaic panel, oriented due south at an angle from horizontal to equal
to the latitude of the collector location. This is typical practice for PV system installation, although other orientations are also used.
February 2011
DSIRE Solar provides comprehensive information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives and policies that promote solar energy. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Energy Technologies Program, DSIRE Solar provides solar-specific policy information to consumers, policy makers, businesses, utilities, researchers and other stakeholders.
February 2011
DSIRE Solar’s color-coded summary maps provide a geographical overview of certain financial incentives and regulatory policies that promote solar installations in U.S.
states. These maps are available in multiple formats for easy incorporation into presentations and reports.
February 2011
A collection of links to all U.S. Federal incentives and policies for solar electricity generation.
February 2011

The System Advisor Model (SAM) is a performance and economic model designed to facilitate decision making for people involved in the renewable energy industry,ranging from project managers and engineers to incentive program designers, technology developers, and researchers.

February 2009

This interactive mapping tool allows users to examine, distribute, and analyze solar resource data for the United States and northern Mexico. It assists in making decisions about optimal locations for CSP plants. Users can explore temporal and spatial aspects of NREL's solar resource data and can download the resource data for use outside of the tool—for example, in the System Advisor Model.

February 2009