System Advisor Model (SAM)


Welcome to SAM

The System Advisor Model (SAM) is a performance and financial model designed to facilitate decision making for people involved in the renewable energy industry:

Screenshot of the System Advisor Model's application user-interface.
The SAM main window showing monthly electricity generation for a 250-kilowatt PV system in Phoenix, Arizona

  • Project managers and engineers
  • Incentive program designers
  • Technology developers
  • Researchers

SAM makes performance predictions and cost of energy estimates for grid-connected power projects based on installation and operating costs and system design parameters that you specify as inputs to the model.
Projects can be either on the customer side of the utility meter, buying and selling electricity at retail rates, or on the utility side of the meter, selling electricity at a price negotiated through a power purchase agreement (PPA).

The current version of the SAM includes performance models for the following technologies:

  • Photovoltaic systems (flat-plate and concentrating)
  • Parabolic trough concentrating solar power systems
  • Power tower concentrating solar power systems (molten salt and direct steam)
  • Linear Fresnel concentrating solar power systems
  • Dish-Stirling concentrating solar power systems
  • Conventional fossil-fuel thermal systems
  • Solar water heating for residential or commercial buildings
  • Large and small wind power projects
  • Geothermal power and geothermal co-production
  • Biomass power

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