Geospatial analysis of solar photovoltaic suitability for Solar Photovoltaic Farms (SPVF)
Devine, Alexander Lecil
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Geospatial technologies including geographic information systems (GIS) and Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) are increasingly being used to provide detailed and accurate spatial information for a variety of environmental analyses. One such application is site suitability analyses for Solar Photovoltaic Farms (SPVF), broad-scale systems designed to provide solar power to the electricity grid. The highly accurate representations of ground terrain conditions using digital elevation models (DEMs) derived from Lidar are critical for SPVF site suitability. However the expense associated with collecting aerial Lidar may not provide sufficient return on the investment for this particular analysis. A detailed comparison of Solar Photovoltaic (Solar/PV) site suitability analysis results performed with Lidar-derived 1.22-meter DEM vs. USGS NED 10-meter DEM will address that question. The results from this comparison will potentially inform decision-makers on the need for acquiring Lidar data in a region when investigating the siting of a SVPF installation.