SAM Photovoltaic Model Technical Reference 2016 Update

Paul Gilman, Janine Keith, Steven Janzou, Aron Dobos, David Ryberg, Nicholas DiOrio

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


This manual describes the photovoltaic performance model in the System Advisor Model (SAM) software, Version 2016.3.14 Revision 4 (SSC Version 160). It is an update to the 2015 edition of the manual, which describes the photovoltaic model in SAM 2015.1.30 (SSC 41). This new edition includes corrections of errors in the 2015 edition and descriptions of new features introduced in SAM 2016.3.14, including: 3D shade calculator Battery storage model DC power optimizer loss inputs Snow loss model Plane-of-array irradiance input from weather file option Support for sub-hourly simulations Self-shading works with all four subarrays, and uses same algorithm for fixed arrays and one-axis tracking Linear self-shading algorithm for thin-film modules Loss percentages replace derate factors. The photovoltaic performance model is one of the modules in the SAM Simulation Core (SSC), which is part of both SAM and the SAM SDK. SAM is a user-friedly desktop application for analysis of renewable energy projects. The SAM SDK (Software Development Kit) is for developers writing their own renewable energy analysis software based on SSC. This manual is written for users of both SAM and the SAM SDK wanting to learn more about the details of SAM's photovoltaic model.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages93
StatePublished - 2018

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-67399


  • battery
  • inverter
  • module
  • photovoltaic
  • SAM
  • software
  • SSC
  • System Advisor Model


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