Installation & First steps

Getting FlexMeasures to run

This section walks you through installing FlexMeasures on your own PC and running it continuously. We’ll cover getting started by making a secret key, connecting a database and creating one user & one asset.


Maybe these starting points are also interesting for you:

Install FlexMeasures

Install dependencies and the flexmeasures platform itself:

pip install flexmeasures


With newer Python versions and Windows, some smaller dependencies (e.g. tables or rq-win) might cause issues as support is often slower. You might overcome this with a little research, by installing from wheels or from the repo, respectively.

Make a secret key for sessions and password salts

Set a secret key which is used to sign user sessions and re-salt their passwords. The quickest way is with an environment variable, like this:

export SECRET_KEY=something-secret

(on Windows, use set instead of export)

This suffices for a quick start.

If you want to consistently use FlexMeasures, we recommend you add this setting to your config file at ~/.flexmeasures.cfg and use a truly random string. Here is a Pythonic way to generate a good secret key:

python -c "import secrets; print(secrets.token_urlsafe())"

Configure environment

Set an environment variable to indicate in which environment you are operating (one out of development|testing|staging|production). We’ll go with development here:

export FLASK_ENV=development

(on Windows, use set instead of export)


echo "FLASK_ENV=development" >> .env


The default is production, which will not work well on localhost due to SSL issues.

Preparing the time series database

  • Make sure you have a Postgres (Version 9+) database for FlexMeasures to use. See Postgres database (section “Getting ready to use”) for instructions on this.

  • Tell flexmeasures about it:

    export SQLALCHEMY_DATABASE_URI="postgresql://<user>:<password>@<host-address>[:<port>]/<db>"

    If you install this on localhost, host-address is and the port can be left out. (on Windows, use set instead of export)

  • Create the Postgres DB structure for FlexMeasures:

    flexmeasures db upgrade

This suffices for a quick start.


For a more permanent configuration, you can create your FlexMeasures configuration file at ~/.flexmeasures.cfg and add this:


Adding data

Add an account & user

FlexMeasures is a tenant-based platform ― multiple clients can enjoy its services on one server. Let’s create a tenant account first:

flexmeasures add account --name  "Some company"

This command will tell us the ID of this account. Let’s assume it was 2.

FlexMeasures is also a web-based platform, so we need to create a user to authenticate:

flexmeasures add user --username <your-username> --email <your-email-address> --account-id 2 --roles=admin
  • This will ask you to set a password for the user.

  • Giving the first user the admin role is probably what you want.

Add structure

Populate the database with some standard asset types, user roles etc.:

flexmeasures add initial-structure

Add your first asset

There are three ways to add assets:

First, you can use the flexmeasures CLI Commands:

flexmeasures add asset --name "my basement battery pack" --asset-type-id 3 --latitude 65 --longitude 123.76 --account-id 2

For the asset type ID, I consult flexmeasures show asset-types.

For the account ID, I looked at the output of flexmeasures add account (the command we issued above) ― I could also have consulted flexmeasures show accounts.

The second way to add an asset is the UI ― head over to https://localhost:5000/assets (after you started FlexMeasures, see step “Run FlexMeasures” further down) and add a new asset there in a web form.

Finally, you can also use the POST /api/v2_0/assets endpoint in the FlexMeasures API to create an asset.

Add your first sensor

Usually, we are here because we want to measure something with respect to our assets. Each assets can have sensors for that, so let’s add a power sensor to our new battery asset, using the flexmeasures CLI Commands:

flexmeasures add sensor --name power --unit MW --event-resolution 5 --timezone Europe/Amsterdam --asset-id 1 --attributes '{"capacity_in_mw": 7}'

The asset ID I got from the last CLI command, or I could consult flexmeasures show account --account-id <my-account-id>.

Add time series data (beliefs)

There are three ways to add data:

First, you can load in data from a file (CSV or Excel) via the flexmeasures CLI Commands:

flexmeasures add beliefs --file my-data.csv --skiprows 2 --delimiter ";" --source OurLegacyDatabase --sensor-id 1

This assumes you have a file my-data.csv with measurements, which was exported from some legacy database, and that the data is about our sensor with ID 1. This command has many options, so do use its --help function.

Second, you can use the POST /api/v3_0/sensors/data endpoint in the FlexMeasures API to send meter data.

Finally, you can tell FlexMeasures to create forecasts for your meter data with the flexmeasures add forecasts command, here is an example:

flexmeasures add forecasts --from-date 2020-03-08 --to-date 2020-04-08 --asset-type Asset --asset my-solar-panel


You can also use the API to send forecast data.

Run FlexMeasures

Running the web service

It’s finally time to start running FlexMeasures:

flexmeasures run

(This might print some warnings, see the next section where we go into more detail)


In a production context, you shouldn’t run a script - hand the app object to a WSGI process, as your platform of choice describes. Often, that requires a WSGI script. We provide an example WSGI script in Continuous integration. You can also take a look at FlexMeasures’ Dockerfile to get an idea how to run FlexMeasures with gunicorn.

You can visit http://localhost:5000 now to see if the app’s UI works. When you see the dashboard, the map will not work. For that, you’ll need to get your MAPBOX_ACCESS_TOKEN and add it to your config file.

Other settings, for full functionality

Set mail settings

For FlexMeasures to be able to send email to users (e.g. for resetting passwords), you need an email account which can do that (e.g. GMail). Set the MAIL_* settings in your configuration, see Mail.

Install an LP solver

For planning balancing actions, the FlexMeasures platform uses a linear program solver. Currently that is the Cbc solver. See FLEXMEASURES_LP_SOLVER if you want to change to a different solver.

Installing Cbc can be done on Unix via:

apt-get install coinor-cbc

(also available in different popular package managers).

We provide a script for installing from source (without requiring sudo rights) in the ci folder.

More information (e.g. for installing on Windows) on the Cbc website.

Install and configure Redis

To let FlexMeasures queue forecasting and scheduling jobs, install a Redis server (or rent one) and configure access to it within FlexMeasures’ config file (see above). You can find the necessary settings in Redis.

Then, start workers in a console (or some other method to keep a long-running process going):

flexmeasures jobs run-worker --queue forecasting
flexmeasures jobs run-worker --queue scheduling

Where to go from here?

If your data structure is good, you should think about (continually) adding measurement data. This tutorial mentioned how to add data, but Posting data goes deeper with examples and terms & definitions.

Then, you probably want to use FlexMeasures to generate forecasts and schedules! For this, read further in Forecasting & scheduling.