SAM is developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) with funds from the U.S. Department of Energy. The SAM development team collaborates with industry partners, NREL staff and interns, and other research organizations develop and enhance the model. The original solar models were developed in collaboration with Sandia National Laboratories and the University of Wisconsin's Solar Energy Laboratory.

For a general description of the software, see the Welcome page.

Development Team

The members of the core development team are listed in the table below. This team meets on a weekly basis to discuss progress on new features and capabilies, resolve bugs and other issues, and plan for documentation and outreach projects including webinars, reference manuals, and validation studies. The team also holds bi-weekly round tables that are open to SAM users to ask questions and provide feedback. To contact the team, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Janine Keith Project Lead, photovoltaic and wind models, programming
Brian Mirletz Project Lead, battery storage, utility rates, programming
Nate Blair Project coordination, financials, costs, systems
Darice Guittet Battery storage, programming, PySAM
Matthew Prilliman Photovoltaic, marine energy, geothermal, programming
Ty Neises CSP models
William Hamilton CSP models
Taylor Brown CSP models
Steven Janzou Programming
Paul Gilman User support and documentation, user interface


If you have a question about SAM, please search the website, and if you do not find an anwer, post your question on the forum.

You can also contact the SAM team This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Software Use

The System Advisor Model (SAM) is free software that may be used for commercial, academic, or personal purposes under the terms of the legal disclaimer below.

For guidelines for citing SAM in publications and other written materials, see Citing SAM.

The first time you start SAM after installing the software, it will prompt you for an email address so we can send you a free software key. See this post on the SAM forum for details.

The SAM source code is available on GitHub repositories under the terms described in the SAM open source license.

Legal Disclaimer

The System Advisor Model ("Model") is provided by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory ("NREL"), which is operated by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC ("Alliance") for the U.S. Department of Energy ("DOE") and may be used for any purpose whatsoever.

The names DOE/NREL/Alliance shall not be used in any representation, advertising, publicity or other manner whatsoever to endorse or promote any entity that adopts or uses the Model. DOE/NREL/Alliance shall not provide any support, consulting, training or assistance of any kind with regard to the use of the Model or any updates, revisions or new versions of the Model.

You agree to indemnify DOE/NREL/Alliance, and its affiliates, officers, agents, and employees against any claim or demand, including reasonable attorneys' fees, related to your use, reliance, or adoption of the Model for any purpose whatsoever. The Model is provided by DOE/NREL/Alliance as is and any express or implied warranties, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose are expressly disclaimed. In no event shall DOE/NREL/Alliance be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever, including but not limited to claims associated with the loss of data or profits, which may result from any action in contract, negligence or other tortious claim that arises out of or in connection with the use or performance of the Model.


SAM was originally developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in collaboration with Sandia National Laboratories in 2005, and at first used internally by the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Energy Technologies Program for systems-based analysis of solar technology improvement opportunities within the program. The first public version was released in August 2007 as the Solar Advisor Model Version 1, making it possible for solar energy professionals to analyze photovoltaic systems and concentrating solar power parabolic trough systems in the same modeling platform using consistent financial assumptions. Since 2007, two new versions have been released each year, adding new technologies and financing options. In 2010, the name changed to "System Advisor Model" to reflect the addition of non-solar technologies. As of the fall of 2013, NREL began releasing one new version per year with periodic updates as needed.

The DOE, NREL, and Sandia continue to use the model for program planning and in grant programs. Since the first public release, over 35,000 people representing manufacturers, project developers, academic researchers, and policy makers have downloaded the software. Manufacturers are using the model to evaluate the impact of efficiency improvements or cost reductions in their products on the cost of energy from installed systems. Project developers use SAM to evaluate different system configurations to maximize earnings from electricity sales. Policy makers and designers use the model to experiment with different incentive structures.