LCOE Calculator

By Greg T. Forcherio

Purdue University

Calculate the Levelized Cost of Energy for a facility or system over its lifetime.

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Version 1.0.4 - published on 16 Sep 2014

doi:10.4231/D3XG9FB9Z cite this

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    Capacity Factor Sweep Operational Period Sweep Discount Rate Sweep for the Capital Recovery Factor



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This Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) calculator calculates the minimum base cost of energy supplied by a facility or system which must be charged to its customers (i.e. break even before profit). The formula takes the following parameters into account:

  • capital cost of the facility/system ($/kW)
  • maintenance costs($/kWh)
  • yearly capacity factor (%)
  • fuel costs ($/MMBtu)
  • supply rate (Btu/kWh)
  • interest rate which system is financed (%), also referred to as "discount rate"
  • operational period of the facility or system (years)

The program takes the user input specifications and returns a number plot for the Levelized Cost of Energy, and Capital Recovery Factor (CRF). Then, a single parameter can be changed incrementally (i.e. parameter sweep) and the number plot will graph all simulation results and display them together for LCOE or CRF as a function of that particular variable. This will graphically represent to what extent that swept variable dictates the price of energy. Such sweeping of variables not only show what areas can be used to make energy cheaper, but also to show where R&D can be used to optimize cost in the most effective way.

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Xufeng Wang (wang159)

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  • "Simple Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) Calculator Documentation," NREL: Energy Analysis, (accessed June 16, 2011).
  • Wikipedia contributors, "Capital recovery factor," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed June 3, 2010).
  • Wikipedia contributors, "Cost of electricity by source," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed August 3, 2011).
  • Walter Short, Daniel J. Packey, and Thomas Holt, A Manual for the Economic Evaluation of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy TechnologiesPDF, NREL/TP-462-5173, March 1995.

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Greg T. Forcherio (2014), "LCOE Calculator," (DOI: 10.4231/D3XG9FB9Z).

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