SAM's performance models calculate the hourly output of a renewable energy system over a single year (except for the geothermal model that is based on monthly resource depletion over many years). The documents on this page are published articles and academic dissertations that describe the algorithms used by the different performance models.
For more general descriptions of the models and their implementation in SAM, and for instructional materials see SAM's Help system, or documents and links on the Learning page.
SAM's photovoltaic peformance model relies on separate component models to represent the performance of modules and inverters in the system. SAM's user interface allows you to choose from several component model options, which are described in the documents listed below. A photovoltaic model reference manual is forthcoming (as of February 2014) that describes how the component models are implemented in SAM, and the algorithms not described below such as sun position and incident irradiance calculations, near-object shading, soiling, etc.
King, D.L.; Boyson, W.E.; and Kratochvil, J.A. (2004). "Photovoltaic Array Performance Model." 41 pp.; Sandia Report No. 2004-3535. (PDF 1.8 MB)
King, D.L.; Gonzalez, S.; Galbraith, G.M.; and Boyson, W.E. (2007). "http://energy.sandia.gov/wp/wp-content/gallery/uploads/075036.pdf." 47 pp.; Sandia Report No. 2007-5036. (PDF 1.3 MB)
Dobos, A. P. (2012). "An Improved Coefficient Calculator for the CEC Photovoltaic Module Model." ASME Journal of Solar Energy Engineering. In Press.
De Soto, W.L. (M.S. 2004). "Improvement and Validation of a Model for Photovoltaic Array Performance." University of Wisconsin-Madison. (ZIP 1.8 MB)
Neises, T. (M.S., 2011). "Development and Validation of a Model to Predict the Temperature of a Photovoltaic Cell." University of Wisconsin-Madison. (ZIP 4.4 MB)
Marion, W.; Dobos, A. (2013). "Rotation Angle for the Optimum Tracking of One-Axis Trackers." National Renewable Energy Laboratory. 10 pp.; NREL/TP-6A20-58891. (PDF 388 KB)
Deline, C.; Dobos, A.; Janzou, S.; Meydbrey, J.; Donoval, M. (2013) A Simplified Model of Uniform Shading in Large Photovoltaic Arrays. Solar Energy Vol 96, October 2013, pp 274-282. Draft Preprint (PDF 1.3 MB)
Dobos, A. P. (2012). Modeling of Annual DC Energy Losses due to Off Maximum Power Point Operation in PV Arrays. [Proceedings] 38th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC '12), 3-8 June 2012, Austin, Texas. Piscataway, NJ: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) pp. 002967-002969; NREL Report No. CP-6A20-55362.
Marion, B.; Adelstein, J.; Boyle, K.; Hayden, H.; Hammond, B.; Fletcher, T.; Canada, B.; Narang, D.; Shugar, D.; Wenger, H.; Kimber, A.; Mitchell, L.; Rich, G.; Townsend, T. (2005). "Performance Parameters for Grid-Connected PV Systems." 9 pp.; NREL Report No. CP-520-37358. (PDF 816 KB)
Marion, W., Anderberg, M. (2000). PVWATTS - An Online Performance Calculator for Grid-Connected PV Systems. Proceedings of the ASES Solar Conference, June 15-21, Madison, WI.
The CSP models include models for parabolic trough, power tower, linear Fresnel, dish-Stirling systems, and a generic solar system model.
Price, H. (2003). Parabolic Trough Solar Power Plant Simulation Model. Proceedings of the ISEC 2003: International Solar Energy Conference, 15-18 March 2003, Kohala Coast, Hawaii. New York: American Society of Mechanical Engineers. 665-673 pp.; NREL Report No. CP-550-34742. (PDF 548 KB)
Wagner, M. J.; Gilman, P. (2011). "Technical Manual for the SAM Physical Trough Model." 124 pp.; NREL Report No. TP-5500-51825. (PDF 3.7 MB)
Fraser, P. (M.S. 2008). "Stirling Dish System Performance Prediction Model." University of Wisconsin-Madison. (ZIP 1.8 MB)
Wagner, M. (M.S. 2008). "Simulation and Predictive Performance Modeling of Utility-Scale Central Receiver System Power Plants." University of Wisconsin-Madison. (ZIP 32.3 MB)
Neises, T.; Wagner, M. (2012). "Simulation of Direct Steam Power Tower Concentrated Solar Plant." ASME SE 2012 6th International Conference on Energy Sustainability July 23-26, 2012.
Kistler, B. (1986). "A User's Manual for DELSOL3: A Computer Code for Calculating the Optical Performance and Optimal System Design for Solar Thermal Central Receiver Plants." Sandia Report No. SAND86-8018. (PDF 10 MB)
Feierabend, L. (M.S., 2009). "Thermal Model Development and Simulation of Cavity-Type Solar Central Receiver Systems." University of Wisconsin-Madison. (ZIP 5.0 MB)
Wagner, M.; Zhu, G. (2012). "A Direct-steam Linear Fresnel Performance Model for NREL's System Advisor Model." NREL Conference Paper CP-5500-55044. (PDF 647 KB)
Wagner, M. (2012). "Results and Comparison from the SAM Linear Fresnel Technology Performance Model: Preprint. NREL Conference Paper CP-5500-54758." (PDF 726 KB)
Wagner, M. J.; Zhu, G. (2011). "Generic CSP Performance Model for NREL's System Advisor Model: Preprint." 10 pp.; NREL Report No. CP-5500-52473. (PDF 729 KB)
Jorgenson, J.; Gilman, P.; Dobos, A. (2011). Technical Manual for the SAM Biomass Power Generation Model. 40 pp.; NREL Report No. TP-6A20-52688. (PDF 728 kB)
SAM's geothermal power model is based on the U.S. Department of Energy's Geothermal Electricity Technology Evaluation Model (GETEM). GETEM Manuals and Revision Notes.
Freeman, J.; Gilman, P.; Jorgenson, J.; Ferguson, T. (DRAFT 2013). Reference Manual for the System Advisor Model's Wind Performance Model. (PDF 815 KB)
Quinlan, P. J. A., (M.S., 1996). "Time Series Modeling of Hybrid Wind Photovoltaic Diesel Power Systems". University of Wisconsin-Madison. (ZIP 2.1 MB)
Crawley, D., et al. (1999). "Energy Plus Weather File Documentation." (PDF 84 KB)
Marion, W., Urban, K. (1995). User's Manual for TMY2s (Typical Meteorological Years) - Derived from the 1961-1990 National Solar Radiation Data Base.
Stoffel, T.; Renne, D.; Myers, D.; Wilcox, S.; Sengupta, M.; George, R.; Turchi, C. (2010). "Concentrating Solar Power: Best Practices Handbook for the Collection and Use of Solar Resource Data." NREL Report No. TP-550-47465. (PDF 7.3 MB)
Wilcox, S.; Marion, W. (2008). "Users Manual for TMY3 Data Sets (Revised)." 58 pp.; NREL Report No. TP-581-43156. (PDF 1.7 MB)
Blair, N.; Mehos, M.; Christensen, C.; Cameron, C. (2008). Modeling Photovoltaic and Concentrating Solar Power Trough Performance, Cost, and Financing with the Solar Advisor Model: Preprint. 10 pp.; NREL Report No. CP-670-42922. (PDF 373 KB)
Blair, N. (2008). "Solar Advisor Model; Session: Modeling and Analysis (Presentation)." 2008 Solar Annual Review Meeting. 14 pp.; NREL Report No. PR-670-43227. (PDF 321 KB)
Cameron, C.; Cornelius, C. (2007). "A Systems-Driven Approach to Solar Energy R&D". IEEE International Conference on Systems of Systems Engineering. 6 pp.; Sandia Report No. 2007-3296C. (PDF 421 KB)
These publications describe work performed with funding from the SAM project.
Teichel, S. (M.S., 2011). "Modeling and Calculation of Heat Transfer Relationships for Concentrated Solar Power Receivers." University of Wisconsin-Madison. (ZIP 4.8 MB)
Wagner, M. J.; Mehos, M. S.; Kearney, D. W.; McMahan, A. C. (2011). Modeling of a Parabolic Trough Solar Field for Acceptance Testing: A Case Study. Paper No. ESFuelCell2011-54245. Proceedings of ASME 2011 5th International Conference on Energy Sustainability & 9th Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology Conference (ESFuelCell2011), 7-10 August 2011, Washington, D.C.. New York, NY: American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). 9 pp.; NREL Report No. CP-5500-51459. (PDF 376 KB)
Boyd, M., Klein, S., Reindl D., Dougherty B. (2010). "Evaluation and Validation of Equivalent Circuit Photovoltaic Solar Cell Performance Models." University of Wisconsin-Madison with National Institute of Standards and Technology. (PDF 1.7 MB)
Gilman, P.; Blair, N.; Cameron, C. (2010). Chapter 20: Solar Energy Costs: The Solar Advisor Model. Fraas, L. and Partain, L., eds. Solar Cells and their Applications. Second Edition. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, Inc. pp. 463-482; NREL Report No. CH-6A2-46926.
Wagner, M. J.; Klein, S. A.; Reindl, D. T. (2009). Simulation of Utility-Scale Central Receiver System Power Plants. Paper No. ES2009-90132. Proceedings of the ASME 3rd International Conference on Energy Sustainability 2009, 19-23 July 2009, San Francisco, California. New York: American Society of Mechanical Engineers Vol. 2: pp. 605-614; NREL Report No. CP-550-49065.
Blair, N.; Mehos, M.; Christensen, C. (2008). Sensitivity of Concentrating Solar Power Trough Performance, Cost and Financing with Solar Advisor Model. 2008 14th Biennial CSP SolarPACES (Solar Power and Chemical Energy Systems) Symposium, 4-7 March 2008, Las Vegas, Nevada (CD-ROM) (NREL/CD-550-42709). Golden, CO: National Renewable Energy Laboratory. 8 pp.; NREL Report No. CP-670-42852. (PDF 909 KB)
McMahan, A., Klein, S.A., and Reindl, D.T. (2007). A Finite-Time Thermodynamic Framework for Optimizing Solar-Thermal Power Plants. ASME Journal of Solar Energy Engineering. Vol. 129, Issue 4, pp. 355-362.
McMahan, A. C. (M.S., 2006). Design & Optimization of Organic Rankine Cycle Solar-Thermal Powerplants. University of Wisconsin-Madison. (ZIP 123 KB)
Patnode, A.M. (M.S., 2006). Simulation and Performance Evaluation of Parabolic Trough Solar Power Plants. University of Wisconsin-Madison. (ZIP 4.1 MB)
For other publications about SAM, see Publications Featuring SAM.