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payback period[′pā‚bak ‚pir·ē·əd]
The amount of time required for achieving an amount in profits to offset the cost of a capital expenditure, such as the cost of investment in modifications in an industrial facility for the purpose of conserving energy.
A popular nondiscounting project selection technique used when organizations require the capital investment of a project to be recovered within a specified period; the period it takes for the stream of net cash flows to equal the initial investment. Also, a term used in the evaluation of sustainable and renewable energy options, wherein greenhouse or greenhouse intensive energy savings that the technology may enable over its useful life are assessed in relation to the embodied energy required for its manufacture. For renewable energy systems, it can also refer to the period of time over which energy cost savings derived from accessing renewable energy offset the upfront capital costs of the system.