System Advisor Model, SAM 2011.12.2: General Description

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


This document describes the capabilities of the U.S. Department of Energy and National Renewable Energy Laboratory's System Advisor Model (SAM), Version 2011.12.2, released on December 2, 2011. SAM is software that models the cost and performance of renewable energy systems. Project developers, policy makers, equipment manufacturers, and researchers use graphs and tables of SAM results in theprocess of evaluating financial, technology, and incentive options for renewable energy projects. SAM simulates the performance of solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and conventional power systems. The financial model can represent financing structures for projects that either buy and sell electricity at retail rates (residential and commercial) or sell electricity at a price determined in apower purchase agreement (utility). Advanced analysis options facilitate parametric, sensitivity, and statistical analyses, and allow for interfacing SAM with Microsoft Excel or with other computer programs. SAM is available as a free download at Technical support and more information about the software are available on the website.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages18
StatePublished - 2012

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-53437


  • financial modeling
  • renewable energy cost, performance
  • SAM software
  • System Advisor Model (SAM)


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