System Advisor Model, SAM 2014.1.14: General Description

Nathan Blair, Janine Keith, Ty Neises, Michael Wagner, Tom Ferguson, Paul Gilman, Steven Janzou, Aron Dobos

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 2013.9.20, released on September 9, 2013. SAM is a computer model that calculates performance and financial metrics of renewable energy systems. Project developers, policy makers, equipment manufacturers, and researchers use graphs and tables of SAM results in the process of evaluating financial, technology, and incentive options for renewable energy projects. SAM simulates the performance of photovoltaic, concentrating solar power, solar water heating, wind, geothermal, biomass, and conventional power systems. The financial model can represent financial structures for projects that either buy and sell electricity at retail rates(residential and commercial) or sell electricity at a price determined in a power purchase agreement (utility). SAM's advanced simulation options facilitate parametric and sensitivity analyses, and statistical analysis capabilities are available for Monte Carlo simulation and weather variability (P50/P90) studies. SAM can also read input variables from Microsoft Excel worksheets. For software developers, the SAM software development kit (SDK) makes it possible to use SAM simulation modules in their applications written in C/C++, C#, Java, Python, and MATLAB. NREL provides both SAM and the SDK as free downloads at Technical support and more information about the software are available on the website.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages19
StatePublished - 2014

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-61019


  • financial model
  • performance model
  • renewable energy models
  • SAM
  • SDK
  • software development kit (SDK)
  • System Advisor Model (SAM)


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