Accessibility links

Cost of Renewable Energy Spreadsheet Tool (CREST)


The Cost of Renewable Energy Spreadsheet Tool (CREST) is an economic cash flow model designed to allow policymakers, regulators, and the renewable energy community to assess project economics, design cost-based incentives (e.g., feed-in tariffs), and evaluate the impact of various state and federal support structures.

CREST is a suite of five analytic tools, for:

  • solar (photovoltaic and solar thermal),
  • wind,
  • geothermal,
  • anaerobic digestion, and
  • fuel cell  technologies.

The model is a product of a 2009-2010 partnership between the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Program (SETP), and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissions (NARUC). The model was developed by Sustainable Energy Advantage (SEA) under the direction of NREL.

Key questions addressed:

  • What is the cost of energy from a range of solar, wind, geothermal, anaerobic digester, and fuel cell electricity generation projects?
  • What are the economic drivers of renewable energy projects?

Sample data inputs:

  • Project size and performance
  • Capital costs
  • Operations and maintenance expenses
  • Construction financing
  • Permanent financing

Sample quantitative outputs:

  • Year one cost of energy (COE)
  • Levelized cost of energy (LCOE)

Access the tool here.

Resources:

CREST user manual

CREST introduction webinar

Presentation: Cost of Renewable Energy Spreadsheet Tool for Anaerobic Digestion

Renewable energy cost modeling: a toolkit for establishing cost-based incentives in the United States.

Tool Summary

Cost:
  • Free
Expertise Required:
  • Moderate
Geographic Scope:
  • Local
  • National
Activities/Scale:
  • Policy
  • Project
Impacts Assessed:
  • Economic
    • General