How are sites selected for solar projects?
Extensive research takes place to choose the perfect location for a large scale solar farm. Site selection processes include:
- Solar Radiation
Sites are analysed for the amount of solar energy that can be harnessed in the area. Factors like local weather, shading from hills and structures.
- Land Suitability
Solar farms require a significant amount of land, so sites with sufficient available space are preferred. Additionally, the land should be relatively flat and free from shading or obstructions that could reduce the amount of sunlight that reaches the solar panels.
Land will be chosen for it’s minimal environmental impact on local wildlife and cultural heritage.
Other considerations include: soil type, drainage, risk of extreme weather events like high wind and flooding.
- Grid connection
A solar farm needs to be able to distribute the power it generates, therefore it is essential to assess the local lines capacity or whether there is the ability to connect to Transpower’s transmission lines or the local Electrical Distribution Business (EBD) power lines ie Vector, Powerco etc.