A Regional GIS-Assisted Multi-Criteria Evaluation of Site-Suitability for the Development of Solar Farms | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
February 2021
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© 2021 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article.

One of the fastest-growing renewable energy sources is solar energy. A strategic step for a well-performing solar project is site identification. The evaluation of site-suitability is a complex task, where multiple qualitative and quantitative criteria, inherent to the territory, are involved. In this study, a GIS-based multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM) methodology for site-suitability evaluation in the development of solar farms (DSF) is presented. Two scenarios, the ranking method (RM) and the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP), each representing a different weighting approach, were tested. A case study was performed for the Desert of Chihuahua, Mexico, a region with the potential to provide a significant portion of the country’s energy demand. The RM was more stringent and identified less area with high suitability (1237 km2) compared to the AHP (4983 km2). Given its flexibility in assigning weights, the AHP is considered to have greater potential in identifying site-suitability levels. The final suitability maps of the AHP showed the northern part of the study region to have high suitability for the DSF. Thus, sites in this area could be used for the construction of solar energy projects in the future. This methodology provides a useful tool for land-use planning based on its suitability level.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Prieto-Amparán, Jesús A.
Pinedo-Alvarez, Alfredo
Morales-Nieto, Carlos R.
Valles-Aragón, María C.
Álvarez-Holguín, Alan
Villarreal-Guerrero, Federico


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