3.1 Establish the criteria and variables
Following a comprehensive review of the relevant literature and consultation with industry experts, this paper suggests sixteen essential site selection considerations. However, at some point throughout the site selection process, the characteristics of variables may have an effect on the output's accuracy. To ideally solve this problem, the variables in this study can be classified as useful or negative, based on whether or not to enhance photovoltaic power plant production as their values increase. Visual impact, solar irradiation potential, land types, geological disaster, policies, public attitude, and local development planning are considered beneficial criteria in this paper; payback period, investment cost, rainfall, temperature, humidity, distance to roads, distance to substations, and population density are considered detrimental criteria. This treatment would advocate for simplifying the MCDM model and outlining the CBA model's decision rules. The justification and explanation for the selection of each factor will be discussed in greater detail below:
The building of solar farms would have an effect on the daily life of animals and humans27. To maintain the long-term viability of the ecosystem, the visual impact of the solar farm must be considered throughout the design stage.
Solar irradiation potential
It's fair to say that this is a key indicator for whether solar farms will be built. Solar farms' ability to produce and save money is directly impacted by the amount of available solar energy. The more solar radiation there is, the more electricity is generated, and the more efficient the electric field is28.
In some places, land types and availability might be a factor in determining the location of a solar power plant. Numerous countries have regulations regarding the sorts of land that can be used for solar projects. Generally, it is preferable to employ building land rather than agricultural land, as this would contravene the principle of sustainable growth.
This is a critical geographical factor in the development of photovoltaic power plants. If an area is prone to geological disasters such as tsunamis and earthquakes, investors will face significant risks, and there is no value in installing solar farms in this area.
It is critical to consider local policies while selecting a location. Solar energy generation is expensive due to technical constraints. When a country or municipal government reduces taxes while increasing energy prices, investors are relieved and the investment rate increases.
The photovoltaic power station is built to meet the interests of investors while also contributing positively to society. It will assist in the promotion of local businesses, the creation of more jobs, and the impact on local education and culture29.
The development of a huge solar energy system is a massive and time-consuming endeavor. It frequently has a detrimental effect on nearby inhabitants, for example, noise. It is critical and appropriate to perform extensive research to ascertain whether the local populace supports solar energy generation.
Local development planning
It serves as the foundation for investment and commercial decision-making. If the local economy and social system have remained stagnant and saturated, the viability and hazards of investing in photovoltaic power stations must be evaluated.
This is a critical factor to examine when determining if a project is worth investing in, and it is also a benchmark for decision makers when determining a project's profitability. When selecting a solar power plant, a project with a lengthy payback period is inappropriate and should not be prioritized.
Investment cost is a critical factor to consider while undertaking any project. It weighs the project's expenses and benefits. Consideration of this factor in the analysis of the optimal site of solar farms will result in a more cost-effective and dependable location outcome. The expenditure mostly encompasses the costs associated with land acquisition in this paper.
Rainwater may cause damage to photovoltaic (PV) and other construction equipment, reducing their useful life. Solar power plants should be constructed with extreme caution in places prone to excessive precipitation.
Temperature can have an effect on the longevity of solar power generation devices. Increased temperature can reduce the efficiency of solar panel energy conversion devices, resulting in decreased output30. When the average temperature is maintained at a steady and acceptable level, solar power plants can operate at maximum capacity.
Increased humidity does result in less solar radiation, lowering the performance of photovoltaic energy and increasing the cost of power generation31.
Distance to roads/substations
The technical strategy must account for the distance between solar farms and roadways and substations. Solar farms built near transformer substations will help reduce equipment transportation costs and enable the construction of new infrastructure.
This is an illustration of how metropolitan systems evolve. The distribution and number of populations are even more critical variables throughout the solar plant site selection process.
All of the factors stated above were determined with the assistance of experts and relevant institutions from around the world to bolster the viability of the site selection system and the data's dependability. Experts include local governments, government agencies, consultants, renewable energy specialists, project managers, quantity surveyors, engineers, architects, scientists, and developers. Their knowledge and abilities ensure the logic and dependability of the system.
3.2 The procedure for determining the optimal location for a solar power plant
This research evaluates the economic, environmental, geographical, and social factors of the study region, as well as the potential for solar energy growth, in order to maximize the site of a solar plant. Developed a more precise approach for determining the location of solar energy plants.
Figure 1 illustrates the process of choosing an alternate site for a solar farm. The specific steps are described as follows:
Created a site selection model based on 16 factors and suggested some constraints to help define possible alternatives (S1, S2, S3).
Collect and evaluate relevant data for each alternative in accordance with the site selection method. All collected data will be processed and used as input parameters for the CBA model.
Determining the optimal site by using CBA methods.
This approach would improve the precision and objectivity of the site selection process's outcome. Notably, due to the low slope angle of the land in the study field, the slope and orientation of the land are not included in this research.
3.4 CBA method
CBA's tabular approach is utilized to determine solar photovoltaic (PV) plant installation locations in this study. As illustrated in Fig. 3, the tabular CBA technique comprises of six steps33.
1. Determine possible alternatives; in this study, three possible alternatives (S1, S2, and S3) are ultimately produced by imposing some constraints on the investigation. These are the alternatives that are used to conduct the evaluation.
2. Defining criteria and factors. Section 2 discusses the criteria and elements that influence the location of solar energy plants. It's worth emphasizing that the majority of characteristics and variables are quantitative, which makes the CBA method's decision-making outputs more objective and reliable.
3. Enumerating the characteristics of each alternative. This process involves experts and stakeholders developing choice rules for each criterion and element, as well as summarizing the qualities of each alternative.
4. Assessing advantages of each alternative. This step requires stakeholders to evaluate the merits of each alternative based on specified characteristics and considerations, which should be a straightforward undertaking.
5. Deciding the importance of each advantage. Decision makers should prioritize each advantage. Participants used a scale ranging from 1 to 100 in order to assign varying degrees of importance. To begin, the "most critical benefit" should receive a score of 100. The following goal is to utilize the "most significant benefit" as a baseline against which to compare the remaining advantages. The final stage is to determine each alternative's Total Importance Advantages (IofAs).
6. Choosing the best alternative. Calculate the cost of each alternative scheme to obtain the cost - IofAs curve. The alternative that gives the most value for money should be chosen by stakeholders and decision makers