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Utility-Scale Solar PV in South Carolina: Analysis of Suitable Lands and Geographical Potential

Amanda Farthing (), Michael Carbajales-Dale, Scott Mason, Patricia Carbajales-Dale and Palak Matta
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Amanda Farthing: Clemson University
Michael Carbajales-Dale: Clemson University
Scott Mason: Clemson University
Patricia Carbajales-Dale: Clemson University
Palak Matta: Clemson University

Biophysical Economics and Resource Quality, 2016, vol. 1, issue 2, 1-15

Abstract: Abstract The purpose of this study is to determine prospective locations for the implementation of utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies and the associated geographical potential of solar energy in South Carolina. By considering limitations imposed by land use, land type, protected areas, and topography, the absolute solar potential was restricted to areas physically, socially, and environmentally favorable for utility PV projects. Using a geographical information system-based suitability model, lands were ranked from 0 (unsuitable for development) to 100 (most suitable). The available solar resource was then calculated for lands with suitability values of at least 50, 70, and 90, with contiguous area requirements of 0.18 and 0.036 km2 (consistent with approximately 5 MWAC and 1 MWAC capacity systems, respectively). The results indicate that, with a 5 MWAC capacity requirement, 3253 km2 (approximately 4.2 % of state land area) obtains the mid-range suitability value of 70. These lands annually receive 5460 TWh of energy from the sun. The analysis and results can facilitate the identification of potential land areas for implementation of utility-scale solar development and demonstrate the maximum solar flux extractable on these lands.

Keywords: Suitability analysis; Photovoltaics; Geographical potential; Solar resource; Land-use planning; Renewable energy potential (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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DOI: 10.1007/s41247-016-0009-5

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