International use of the NREL System Advisor Model (SAM) with case studies
Monday, 26. February 2018
8:00 PM (GMT/UTC)

International use of the NREL System Advisor Model (SAM) with case studies

This webinar will introduce the viewer to the System Advisor Model (SAM) from NREL and its international uses.  SAM has been actively developed since 2004 at NREL and encompasses the latest and best-in-class models for both detailed performance modeling and cash flow financial modeling.  SAM has over 64000 users and only half of those are in the USA.  A user started up SAM every 2.5 minutes and many universities and researchers use SAM to understand renewable energy systems.  SAM includes many technologies including concentrating solar power, photovoltaics, wind, geothermal and biopower.  It handles financials from residential homeowners to complex utility-scale plant financing.

The SAM team has worked with colleagues in India, Mexico, Australia and elsewhere to make SAM more useful for international use.  Recent enhancements to the solar data offered by NREL, in particular, make SAM more useful internationally. We will start the webinar with a general introduction to SAM, discuss the international solar and wind data that we have available for SAM and how to use it with SAM as well as covering two recent international uses of SAM.  We will end with providing information about how to get started with SAM and provide links and publications related to its use internationally. Finally, we look forward to answering your questions about SAM generally and international use of SAM specifically. 

Preliminary agenda:

  • Nate Blair - Introduction to SAM, it's basic and advanced use possibilities
  • James McCall - Using SAM for distributed PV Analysis in Mexico including a description of the international utility rate database at NREL
  • Anthony Lopez - Solar and Wind international resource data available for use in SAM and other models from NREL and other sources
  • Sara Turner: SAM use in the  SERIIUS project and more broadly in India

Webinar presentations

Webinar Presentation by James McCall
Webinar Presentation by Nate Blair
Webinar Presentation by Anthony Lopez
Webinar Presentation by Sara Turner


Nate Blair

Nate Blair is a Group Manager within the Strategic Energy Analysis Center (SEAC) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden CO. Nate has twenty-five years of experience in energy systems modeling and energy analysis. He worked as the TRNSYS product manager at the Univ. of WI – Solar Energy Laboratory, briefly at Sandia National Laboratories, Global Energy Partners, and Thermal Energy System Specialists (also Madison).  Nate has a B.A. in Physics from Gustavus Adolphus College in MN, an M.S.M.E. (1993) and an MBA (2002) from the UW-Madison. 
His 15 years of NREL activities include developing the System Advisor Model (SAM) and PVWatts – both well known system modeling tools in the solar community - as well as working with the ReEDS electric grid planning model.  He currently manages a team of system modelers and the Geospatial Data Science (GDS) staff. Recently, he worked at the World Bank from 2015-2016 on assignment from NREL providing technical support on renewables and grid integration of variable renewables in developing countries.

Anthony Lopez

Anthony Lopez is a senior Geospatial Data Scientist in the Strategic Energy Analysis Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. In this position, he leads and conducts both domestic and international analysis in many aspects of renewable energy research, including, solar resource assessment, techno-economic analysis, capacity expansion, and grid integration studies. Mr. Lopez has over a decade of experience in spatial analysis and geoinformatics working in both the private and public sectors.

James McCall

James McCall is a Distributed Energy and Environment Analyst in NREL’s Strategic Energy Analysis Center. His research includes the study of water, energy, and land systems and policy and jobs analysis for the energy sector. James performs techno-economic analysis for renewable technologies internationally and for the Clean Energy Manufacturing Analysis Center (CEMAC). Before NREL, he was a Facilities Engineer for Aera Energy, an oil and gas producer in Bakersfield, CA. James has a Master’s degree in Solar Energy Engineering and Commercialization from Arizona State University and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado School of Mines.

Sara Turner

Sara Turner is a doctoral candidate at the Pardee RAND Graduate School and an assistant policy researcher at RAND. She has an M.A. in international studies, specializing in international political economy, from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. At RAND her work has focused on infrastructure planning and development. Recent projects include work on solar energy technology development in India, and water infrastructure planning under conditions of deep uncertainty. As part of the Solar Energy Research Institute for India and the United States (SERIIUS) consortium, she contributed to efforts to modify the System Advisor Model (SAM) tool in order to facilitate the use of SAM in analysis of photovoltaic projects in India