When you create a new case or file, SAM populates inputs with default values to help you get started with your analysis. So, if you create a case for a utility-scale photovoltaic project with a single owner, SAM populates the inputs on the Financing and System Costs pages with values that are reasonable for a typical PV project for power generation in the United States. The default values are just a starting point: As you develop and refine your analysis, you should change the inputs to values that are appropriate for your analysis scenario.
The default costs for SAM's photovoltaic model are from the NREL Annual Technology Baseline (ATB).
Other useful resources for information about photovoltaic project costs are:
- Berkely Lab's Tracking the Sun report.
- NREL's Solar Industry Update.
Module and Inverter Data
For the Detailed Photovoltaic model, SAM uses parameters from built-in libraries for the module and inverter. These libraries are CSV files stored in the "libraries" folder in your SAM installation. We do not recommend modifiying these files because doing so incorrectly could cause problems with your SAM installation and because you may lose your modifications when you update or remove versions of SAM from your computer. You can use the techniques described in PV Modules and Inverters not in Database to model equipment in SAM that is not inlcuded in the libraries.
You can make copies of the CSV files to access the data for research purposes or to use with other models. You can also download this zip archive of library files for SAM versions 2015.1.30 through 2020.11.29:
- Archive of PV Module and Inverter Library Files (ZIP 5.44 MB)
The library files for the current version of SAM are available from the SAM GitHub repository at https://github.com/NREL/SAM/tree/develop/deploy/libraries.