Site selection means identifying a suitable location matching pre-defined target criteria for a solar project. Target criteria are typically defined based on the outcome of a market assessment (markets & fundamentals) and an initial business case for a project (technology & economics), which also includes a first evaluation of applicable technology options. Site evaluation is a key element of a pre-feasibility analysis.
In case the best suitable area for project location is to be identified, the region of interest can be screened. Instead of the substantial effort of travelling the whole region to look for prospective sites, a Geo Information System (GIS) can be used to identify preferred areas.
Target criteria for screening would include:
Threshold values for solar resource and meteorological conditions
Restrictions on topography (shading, slope & soil conditions)
Infrastructure (electric grids, roads, population, transport, fuel for hybrid solutions)
Water availability (for cleaning and/or cooling)
Other technical criteria as applicable, e.g. avoidance of environmentally protected zones
Site visits to pre-identified locations are still mandatory for verifying GIS findings (ground truth) and gathering more information regarding the availability of land, neighborhood, local communities and authorities. A detailed site assessment would include a solar resource assessment (solar resource) and should also consider the technical requirements, thus a rough technical concept or at least a range of technology options should be available