Software Comparison for Renewable Energy Deployment in a Distribution Network

Eduard Muljadi, Mackay Miller, David Gao, Tian Tian

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


The main objective of this report is to evaluate different software options for performing robust distributed generation (DG) power system modeling. The features and capabilities of four simulation tools, OpenDSS, GridLAB-D, CYMDIST, and PowerWorld Simulator, are compared to analyze their effectiveness in analyzing distribution networks with DG. OpenDSS and GridLAB-D, two open source software, have the capability to simulate networks with fluctuating data values. These packages allow the running of a simulation each time instant by iterating only the main script file. CYMDIST, a commercial software, allows for time-series simulation to study variations on network controls. PowerWorld Simulator, another commercial tool, has a batch mode simulation function through the 'Time Step Simulation' tool, which obtains solutions for a list of specified time points. PowerWorld Simulator is intended for analysis of transmission-level systems, while the other three are designed for distribution systems. CYMDIST and PowerWorld Simulator feature easy-to-use graphical user interfaces (GUIs). OpenDSS and GridLAB-D, on the other hand, are based on command-line programs, which increase the time necessary to become familiar with the software packages.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages25
StatePublished - 2017

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5D00-64228


  • distributed generation
  • GridLAB-D
  • OpenDSS
  • PowerWorld
  • simulation
  • software modeling


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