A GIS-based decision making process to optimize the placement of solar PV in geographically constrained regions
Jacob, Brian Andre
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A suitability assessment method is presented for the state of Georgia that optimizes regions most appropriate for development of solar PV energy generation technologies. Incorporating economic and geographic constraints in addition to pure solar potential data, this methodology allows for an assessment that mitigates the negative economic externalities often associated with large-scale solar PV by identifying regions that have low economic productivity, are near urban load centers, and consist of land cover more suitable for the installation of utility scale solar PV facilities. Several regions in the state were identified: an area of 3500 square miles south east of Warner Robins, GA and an area of 1600 square miles surrounding Columbus, GA. In the future, using this information, along with additional data such as current land value, existing transmissions lines, and protected land information, more precise assessments can be implemented to isolate parcels of land appropriate for solar PV installations.