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In this paper, cost minimization of a stand-alone hybrid energy system including photovoltaics, wind turbines and fuel cells through the overall 20-years life time of the system is performed considering reliability constraints. The cost function of the system includes investment cost, operation and maintenance cost and the cost associated with loss of load. The applied wind speed data and solar irradiation data belongs to a region in north west of Iran. To handle the mixed integer nonlinear optimization problem, differential evolutionary algorithm is applied. To provide a time efficient solution process for the optimization problem, an approximated reliability model is used for reliability assessment. Numerical results depict that while the overall system cost is optimized, the reliability indices are within a satisfactory bound with regard to the reliability standards. Comparative results with particle swarm optimization (PSO) present the efficacy of the proposed algorithm.