Although Saudi Arabia can benefit from implementing photovoltaic (PV) solar power projects to generate power, there are some environmental, economic and technical challenges which can affect the efficiency and cost effectiveness of these facilities. The goal of this paper is to build a site suitability model to identify the suitable sites for implementing solar PV solar projects in Saudi Arabia. Fuzzy analytical hierarchy process (AHP), as a weighting technique, and Preference Ranking Organization Method for Enrichment Evaluations (PROMETHEE II) method are combined to appropriately evaluate the suitable sites. 12 factors divided into two criteria (technical and economical) were incorporated to ensure minimization of construction costs while maximizing power output from the PV power plants. The resulting suitability map shows that Saudi Arabia has huge potential for implementing solar PV projects with approximately 376,623 km2 (65.1 %) of the total studied area considered, “most to highly suitable”. In addition, a validation of the model's predictivity was conducted through an evaluation of the suitability map with respect to the future solar PV projects that Saudi Arabia is developing. The results showed that 90.6 % of the future projects fell within, “most and highly suitable” areas provided by PROMETHEE II suitability map. Furthermore, a sensitivity analysis was carried out by using different preference functions and higher weights for the economic criteria to examine the effect of economic factors toward the suitability results.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Materials Science(all)