Download SAM

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The current version of System Advisor Model is SAM 2014.1.14, which is a maintenance update to version 2013.9.20. It requires about 500 MB of disk space, and either Windows 8/7/Vista or OS X 10.6 Intel or later. SAM is a 32-bit program that will run on both 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems.

Important note! The current version of SAM does not run with Windows XP. Microsoft plans to stop providing updates for Windows XP in 2014, and NREL Information Services no longer supports Windows XP on NREL computers. If you want to run SAM on Windows XP, you can install SAM 2013.1.15, although it does not have all of the features of the current version.

Installation Instructions

  1. If you have not already, log on to the SAM website.

    If you do not have a website account, register to create an account.

  2. Completely download the installation file for your operating system to your computer:
    • For Windows, the file is sam-win32-2014-1-14.exe.
    • For OS X, the file is sam-osx-2014-1-14.dmg. (By default the file will download to your computer's Downloads folder.)

    If your browser prompts you to open or save the file, you should save the file instead of opening it. Be sure that the download is complete before continuing to the next step.

  3. Locate the downloaded file and install the software:
    • In Windows, double-click the installation file to run it and follow the instructions in the installation wizard. By default, SAM will install in the c:\SAM\2014.1.14 folder.
    • In OS X, double-click the installation file to open it, and drag the SAM package (with the sun icon) to your applications folder. This adds the application to your Applications folder. Alternatively, you can run the SAM application directly from the Downloads folder, or from any other folder to which you copy the disk image (.dmg file). If you are running OS X Mavericks or an older version with updates, the security feature called Gatekeeper may prevent you from starting SAM. You can override the feature by pressing the Control button while you click the SAM icon. For more on bypassing Gatekeeper, see this article.

Release Notes

For a complete list of changes in each version, see the release notes, which are available in SAM from the Help menu, or see the Change Log.

SAM 2014.1.14 is a maintenance update to SAM 2013.9.20.

Known Issues

The following are issues with SAM 2014.1.14 that we know about and will address in an update. If you notice any other issues with this version, please let us know by posting a description of the issue on the support forum. You can check for updates in SAM by clicking Check for updates to this version on the Help menu. In the meantime, you can use the workaround solutions described here.

  • For weather files in the TMY3 and EPW formats, missing data for the State field in the header causes SAM's weather file to fail and SAM generates an error report and closes. To work around this issue, use a text editor to open the weather file and type a two-letter string for the State field. We will fix this issue in the next version of SAM.
  • For photovoltaic models, the PDF report annual results (first column on Page 1) shows incorrect units for the solar radiation values, and displays zero for the incident solar radation. The correct units are kWh/m2 instead of kW/m2. For a workaround solution to this issue, see Photovoltaic Reports Issue on the support forum.
  • For the physical trough model, an error in one of the HCE heat loss calculations causes SAM to underestimate the total annual output for the default system by about 0.1%. There is no workaround solution for this error. For a discussion, see Physical Parabolic Trough Model: HCE Support Bracket.

Planned New Features and Wish List

The following items are features that we plan to include in the next version of SAM, tentatively scheduled for release in the fall of 2014:

  • New photovoltaic model based on the IEC 61853-1 standard
  • Research-grade 3-D shading tool for photovoltaic arrays
  • New SAM-specific weather file format that is easier to edit in spreadsheet programs
  • User interface update
  • Database connection to new NREL wind resource data

The following items are features that people have requested and that we are considering for a future version of SAM. If you would like to request a feature, please post your request on the SAM support forum.

  • Photovoltaic report with no financial data.
  • Income tax holiday, or define a period for which there is no income tax.

Legacy Versions

Legacy versions of SAM are versions older than the current version that are available for reference purposes.

To download a legacy version, log on to the website, and click the appropriate link in the Legacy Versions box that appears to the right of this paragraph.

Please note that older versions of SAM cannot open files saved with newer versions. When you use a newer version of SAM to open a file saved with an older version, SAM converts the file to the newer format, which may render it unreadable by the older version. When working with multiple versions of SAM, we recommend saving a copy of the file to work with each version of SAM. You can use the SAM version number in the file name to help you keep track of which file goes with which version.

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