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Determining Factors for Solar Site Selection and Layout

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

determining factors for solar site selection and layout text over image of solar farm aerial view

As the world moves towards more sustainable and renewable energy sources, solar energy becomes an increasingly vital part of our energy mix. Solar developers have a significant role to play in this evolution and site selection is a critical step in the process. The right location can make all the difference in a project's economic viability and long-term success.

Solar Energy Potential Map

One of the first steps in site selection is to examine a solar energy potential map. This map provides a visual representation of where the sun's energy is most abundant. It's a valuable tool for pinpointing regions with high solar irradiation levels, which are ideal for solar energy production.

LandGate leverages a variety of tools and data sources to generate solar energy potential maps and data. The company's platform integrates Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping and data layers, which provide detailed geographical and topographical information for potential solar sites.

Solar irradiance data plays a crucial role in this process. This type of data provides information about the amount of sunlight available in different regions – a key factor in determining a site’s solar energy potential.

LandGate also considers incidence angles and topography. The incidence angle refers to the angle at which sunlight hits a solar panel. A more direct angle (closer to perpendicular) allows for more efficient energy production. Topography, on the other hand, can influence factors like accessibility, construction feasibility, and potential shading issues.

Proximity to Solar Power Substation

The proximity to a solar power substation is another crucial factor to consider. The closer a site is to a substation, the less energy is lost in transmission, making the project more efficient and cost-effective.

In addition to these technical parameters, LandGate also analyzes economic elements of renewable energy projects. It estimates the value of parcels for solar leasing, considering aspects like local energy prices, land values, and lease rates.

Energy Permitting

Navigating the energy permitting process can be complex. Different jurisdictions have different requirements, and understanding these nuances is key to ensuring your project progresses smoothly.

LandGate offers a variety of tools and data that can be beneficial to solar developers, including information about energy permitting. One key resource is their Solar Energy Potential Map and Data, which includes details on permit requirements for different regions. This tool is designed to help developers identify suitable sites for solar projects and understand the regulatory landscape in those areas.

Another useful tool from LandGate is the Solar Lease Estimator. While it's not exclusively about permitting, this tool can provide developers with an understanding of the economic aspects of a project, which can influence the permitting process. It estimates the value of leasing land for solar energy production based on a variety of factors, including local energy prices and lease rates.

For detailed information about permitting and other regulatory requirements, solar developers may need to consult additional resources or work directly with local authorities.

Solar Site Selection and Layout

overlay of field showing data relevant to solar farm site selection

The physical characteristics of a site play a crucial role in its suitability for a solar project. Factors such as slope, soil type, and local climate all need to be considered during 'site selection and layout.

LandGate utilizes a range of sophisticated tools to provide data on a site's topography and its suitability for solar development. Their Geographic Information System (GIS) forms the backbone of these tools, providing detailed geographical and topographical information about potential sites. GIS can highlight crucial factors such as land slope, soil type, and local climate—all of which can impact a site's suitability for solar projects. For instance, a site with steep slopes might present construction challenges, while certain soil types might not be ideal for installing solar panel foundations.

In addition to the GIS, LandGate's platform leverages solar irradiance data, which indicates the amount of sunlight available in different regions. This is a vital factor in determining a site's solar energy potential. The platform also considers incidence angles—the angle at which sunlight hits a solar panel—and proximity to a solar substation, which can affect the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of a solar project. By integrating all these data points, LandGate's tools can provide a comprehensive assessment of a site's suitability for solar development, helping developers make informed decisions.


Selecting the right site is an essential first step in any successful solar development project. Tools like solar energy potential maps, proximity to solar power substations, understanding the energy permitting process, and careful consideration of site selection and layout can significantly influence the success of your project.

At LandGate, we're committed to providing solar developers with the tools they need to make informed decisions. Our comprehensive platform brings together all the critical data you need in one place, streamlining the site selection process. Click here to get in touch with our dedicated Energy Markets team.


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