Skip to main content

SAM Overview and Capabilities

April 1, 2012

Title: System Advisor Model, SAM 2011.12.2: General Description
Authors: Paul Gilman and Aron Dobos, NREL

This document describes the capabilities of NREL'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, policymakers, equipment manufacturers, and researchers use graphs and tables of SAM results in the process of evaluating finance, 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 a power 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 http://sam.nrel.gov. Technical support and more information about the software are available on the website.

—Jim Leyshon