Understanding of mechanisms affecting degradation, durability and performance of solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) stacks and integrated systems has become important due to increasing worldwide deployment. A novel simulation approach accounting for state-of-the-art understanding of degradation mechanisms in the context of an operating SOFC system has been developed. Investigative tools simulating lifetime degradation have been applied to a physical SOFC system model designed and controlled to allow dynamic dispatch. The system was operated in two modes (a) constant power output mode, and (b) diurnal dynamic dispatch mode. Results show that on a time basis the dynamically dispatched SOFC system proved more durable and degraded less than a system operated at constant full-power output. The net energy production over the stack lifetime was roughly equivalent between the two modes (1.5 to 2 kWh cm(-2)), with the dynamically dispatched fuel cell operating longer, degrading less and producing more power during highly valued peak demand periods. (C) 2011 The Electrochemical Society. [DOI: 10.1149/2.032111jes] All rights reserved.