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RETScreen screenshot.png
Developer(s)Government of Canada | Multiple
Initial releaseApril 30, 1998; 21 years ago (1998-04-30)
Stable release
RETScreen Expert / 19 September 2016; 3 years ago (2016-09-19)
Operating systemWindows
Size249 MB
Available in36 languages
List of languages
Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Farsi, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Macedonian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese

The RETScreen Clean Energy Management Software (usually shortened to RETScreen) is a software package developed by the Government of Canada. RETScreen Expert was highlighted at the 2016 Clean Energy Ministerial held in San Francisco.[1]

RETScreen Expert is the current version of the software and was released to the public on September 19, 2016. The software allows for the comprehensive identification, assessment and optimization of the technical and financial viability of potential renewable energy, energy efficiency and cogeneration projects; as well as the measurement and verification of the actual performance of facilities and the identification of energy savings/production opportunities.[2] "Viewer mode" in RETScreen Expert is free and permits access to all of the functionality of the software. Unlike past versions of RETScreen, however, a new "Professional mode" (which allows users to save, print, etc.) is now available on an annual subscription basis.

RETScreen Suite, comprising RETScreen 4 and RETScreen Plus, is the previous version of the RETScreen software. RETScreen Suite includes off-grid analysis capabilities.

Unlike RETScreen Suite, RETScreen Expert is one integrated software platform; utilizes detailed and comprehensive archetypes for assessing projects; and includes portfolio analysis capability. RETScreen Expert integrates a number of databases to assist the user, including a global database of climatic conditions obtained from 6,700 ground-based stations and NASA satellite data; benchmark database; cost database; project database; hydrology database and product database.[3] The software contains extensive integrated training material, including an electronic textbook.[4]


The first version of RETScreen was released on April 30, 1998. RETScreen Version 4 was launched on December 11, 2007 at Bali, Indonesia by Canada's Minister of the Environment.[5] RETScreen Plus was released in 2011.[6] RETScreen Suite (integrating RETScreen 4 and RETScreen Plus with numerous additional upgrades), was released in 2012.[7] RETScreen Expert was released to the public on September 19, 2016.[8]

Program requirements[edit]

This program requires Microsoft® Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10; and Microsoft® .NET Framework 4.7 or higher.[9] It is possible for the program to work on Apple Macintosh computers using Parallels or VirtualBox for Mac.[10]


RETScreen is managed under the leadership and ongoing financial support of the CanmetENERGY Varennes Research Centre of Natural Resources Canada, a department of the Government of Canada. The core team[11] leverages collaboration with a number of other government and multilateral organisations, with technical support from a large network of experts from industry, government and academia.[12] Principal partners include NASA's Langley Research Center,[13] the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP),[14] Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO),[15] UNEP's Energy Unit of the Division of Technology, Industry and Economics,[16] the Global Environment Facility (GEF),[17] the World Bank's Prototype Carbon Fund,[18] and York University's Sustainable Energy Initiative.[19]

Examples of use[edit]

As of October 2019, the RETScreen software had more than 650,000 users in every country and territory of the world.[20]

An independent impact study [21] estimated that by 2013, the use of the RETScreen software had been responsible, worldwide, for over $8 billion in user transaction cost savings, 20 MT per year of greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and has enabled at least 24 GW of installed clean energy capacity.

RETScreen is widely used to facilitate and implement clean energy projects. For example, RETScreen has been used:

  • to retrofit the Empire State Building with energy efficiency measures[22]
  • at the manufacturing facilities of 3M Canada[23]
  • extensively by the Irish wind industry to analyze potential new projects[24]
  • to monitor the performance of hundreds of schools in Ontario[25]
  • by Manitoba Hydro's combined heat & power (bioenergy optimization) program to screen project applications[26][27]
  • to manage energy on university and college campuses[28]
  • in a multi-year assessment and evaluation of photovoltaic performance in Toronto, Canada[29][30]
  • to analyze solar air heating at U.S. Air Force installations[31]
  • for municipal facilities, including identifying opportunities for energy efficiency retrofits in various Ontario municipalities.[32][33]

An extensive collection of posts and articles detailing how RETScreen has been used in different contexts is available on RETScreen's LinkedIn page and archived website.[34]

RETScreen is also used as a teaching and research tool by well-over 1,200 universities and colleges worldwide, and is frequently cited in academic literature.[35] Examples of RETScreen's use in academia can be found under the “Publications and Reports” and "University and College Courses" sections of the RETScreen newsletter, accessible through the User manual in the downloaded software.

The use of RETScreen is mandated or recommended by clean energy incentive programs at all levels of government worldwide, including the UNFCCC and the EU; Canada, New Zealand and the UK; numerous American states and Canadian provinces; cities and municipalities; and utilities.[36] National and regional RETScreen training workshops have been conducted upon the official request of the Governments of Chile,[37] Saudi Arabia,[38] 15 countries in West and Central Africa,[39] and the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE).

Awards and recognition[edit]

In 2010, RETScreen International was awarded the Public Service Award of Excellence,[40] the highest award given by the Canadian government to its civil servants.

RETScreen and the RETScreen team have been nominated for and received numerous other prestigious awards including the Ernst & Young/Euromoney Global Renewable Energy Award, Energy Globe (National Award for Canada), and the GTEC Distinction Award Medal.[41]


An International Energy Agency review of the beta release of the hydropower part of the software described it as "very impressive".[42] The European Environment Agency asserts that RETScreen an "extremely useful tool."[43] RETScreen has also been called "one of the few software tools, and by far the best, available for evaluating the economics of renewable energy installations"[21] and "a tool to enhance... market coherence" in clean energy worldwide.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Canada, Mexico and the United States Show Progress on North American Energy Collaboration". 2016-06-03. Retrieved 2016-10-20.
  2. ^ Clean Energy Solutions Center. "Financial Analysis with RETScreen" (Video). Retrieved 2016-10-20.
  3. ^ "NASA - NASA Collaboration Benefits International Priorities of Energy Management". 2010-02-24. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  4. ^ "Clean Energy Project Analysis, RETScreen® Engineering & Cases Textbook: M154-13/2005E-PDF - Government of Canada Publications" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-02-24.
  5. ^ "Archived - CANADA LAUNCHES CLEAN ENERGY SOFTWARE - Canada News Centre". 2007-12-11. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  6. ^ "RETScreen adds energy performance analysis module". Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  7. ^ "Archived - RETScreen International Newsletter - 2012-06-05: Major Upgrade to RETScreen Software". 2012-06-05. Archived from the original on 2015-07-15. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  8. ^ "Archived - RETScreen International Newsletter - Coming Soon: RETScreen Expert Software". 2015-01-30. Archived from the original on 2015-07-02. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  9. ^ "RETScreen, Natural Resources Canada". Archived from the original on 2016-01-12. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  10. ^ "Archived - RETScreen International - FAQ - Windows/Excel & other". 2015-04-24. Archived from the original on 2015-07-14. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  11. ^ "Archived - RETScreen International Core Team". Archived from the original on 2015-09-29. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  12. ^ "Archived - RETScreen International Network of experts". Archived from the original on 2015-09-29. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  13. ^ "NASA - POWER". Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  14. ^ "Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP)". Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  15. ^ "IESO". Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  16. ^ "About DTIE". Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  17. ^ "Global Environment Facility". Archived from the original on 2016-03-13. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  18. ^ "Carbon Finance at the World Bank: Prototype Carbon Fund". Archived from the original on 2017-04-15. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  19. ^ "Sustainable Energy Initiative". Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  20. ^ "Archived - RETScreen International - RETScreen Software: Cumulative Growth of User Base". Archived from the original on 2015-09-20. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  21. ^ a b c "Archived - RETScreen International: Results & impacts 1996-2012" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-26. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  22. ^ "Archived - RETScreen International - Energy Performance Contracting" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-07-15.[dead link]
  23. ^ "3M Canada Deploys RETScreen Software". Archived from the original on 2018-04-08.
  24. ^ "Archived - RETScreen International - Wind Power and Biomass Heating Projects Seamus Hoyne, TEA and Tipperary Institute" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2014-08-06. Retrieved 2016-07-15.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  25. ^ "School Board Energy Managers Lead Way". Archived from the original on 2018-04-08.
  26. ^ "Bioenergy Optimization Program". Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  27. ^ "Archived - RETScreen International - Power Smart Bioenergy Optimization Program" (PDF). June 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-05-11. Retrieved 2016-10-24.
  28. ^ "Universities and Colleges Reduce Carbon". Archived from the original on 2018-04-08.
  29. ^ "Solarcity Technology Assessment Partnership" (PDF). June 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  30. ^ "Horse Palace Photovoltaic Pilot Project: Update Report" (PDF). January 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-11-02. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  32. ^ "Katelyn McFadyen and Cristina Guido - Municipal Energy Champions". Archived from the original on 2018-04-08.
  33. ^ "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". 2014-08-08. Archived from the original on 2015-05-11. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  34. ^ "Archived - RETScreen International Newsletter". 2015-12-22. Archived from the original on 2016-01-12. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  35. ^ For example, a Google Scholar search for RETScreen on 7 February 2018 yielded over 5,500 results.
  36. ^ "Archived - RETScreen International - Clean Energy Policy Toolkit". 2012-09-21. Archived from the original on 2015-10-05. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  37. ^ "Archived - RETScreen International - CER Chile Implements RETScreen Training Program". 2014-10-24. Archived from the original on 2015-07-14. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  38. ^ "Archived - RETScreen International - Saudi Arabia Builds Clean Energy Capacity". 2014-05-02. Archived from the original on 2015-07-14. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  39. ^ "Archived - RETScreen International - Strengthening the Foundations of Clean Energy in West Africa". 2014-05-02. Archived from the original on 2015-07-14. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  40. ^ "Public Service Award of Excellence 2010" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  41. ^ "Archived - RETScreen International - Awards". 2011-02-03. Archived from the original on 2015-05-09. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  42. ^ "Assessment Methods for Small-hydro Projects" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-10-24.
  43. ^ "RETScreen Clean Energy Project Analysis Software | Environmental software tools for accounting, carbon footprinting & sustainability performance". Retrieved 2016-07-15.

External links[edit]