Pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) is a promising technology to reduce the specific energy consumption and the operating expenditure of a seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) plant. In this study, a simple analytical PRO model is developed to predict the PRO performance as the dilution of draw solutions occurs. The model can predict the PRO performance with a high accuracy without carrying out complicated integrations and experiments. The operating profit of SWRO-PRO is also studied by calculating the profit generated for every m3 of seawater entering the process because maximizing the operating profit is the uttermost objective of the SWRO-PRO process. Based on the PRO analytical model, the operating profit and the dynamics of the SWRO-PRO process, a strategy has been proposed to maximize the operating profit of the SWRO-PRO process while maintaining the highest power density of the PRO membranes. This study proves that integration of SWRO with PRO can (1) push the SWRO to a higher recovery and maintain its high profitability, (2) effectively reduce the specific energy consumption of desalination by up to 35% and (3) increase the operating profit up to 100%. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.