Suitability analysis of solar photovoltaic farms: A Portuguese case study

Sara Rodrigues, Mário Baptista Coelho, Pedro Cabral

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12 Citations (Scopus)
154 Downloads (Pure)


The threat that burning fossil fuels poses to global warming is forcing society to look for renewable energy solutions. Among these, the use of solar energy has a high potential for growth in the current international energy mix. It is important to provide information to decision-makers that deal with the installation of new production facilities. This study combines Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Multi-criteria Evaluation (MCE) techniques to assess the land suitability for the installation of solar farms in the municipality of Ourique in the South of Portugal. Several exclusionary constraints and weighting factors were used in the modelling process with the help of expert knowledge and an extensive literature review. Results show that approximately 21% of the area is classified as "highly suitable" for installing solar farms. These results are in line with the existing and planned photovoltaic (PV) projects in the region, which are mostly located in "medium" or "medium to high" suitable areas. This approach can easily be adapted to include different criteria and/or different weights to deliver information to managers, helping them in the decision regarding locating solar farms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-254
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Renewable Energy Research (IJRER)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Multi-criteria Evaluation
  • Ourique
  • Photovoltaic potential
  • Site Suitability
  • Solar energy


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