Site Selection Process for Green Energy: Introduction

One of the most important things affecting the world today is conservation. Although environmental conservation is very important, so too is energy conservation.

Managing energy conservation is not just about using less energy, it’s also about encouraging renewable energy. This is an essential task made easier with the help of GIS, particularly as it relates to the siting of industrial scale wind farms and solar farms.

Site Selection Process for Wind Farms

A wind map is exactly what it sounds like – a visual representation of the movement of wind. Wind is an incredibly valuable source of green energy and it can be harnessed with large turbines, or windmills. Wind farms are a grouping of wind turbines in the same area used to produce electricity, and are becoming more and more common.

A wind map that could be used in the Site Selection Process for wind turbinesFigure 1: Wind Map

GIS is a valuable tool for planning wind farms and the locations of individual wind turbines. Using a GIS wind map, engineers can determine the best location for a wind farm, and within that farm, the best positioning for the turbines.

Site Selection Process for Solar Farms

Solar panels can be used to harness the power of the sun for electricity. GIS can be used to create a solar map like the one shown in figure 2. With GIS technology, engineers can determine which areas receive the most sunlight as well as identifying areas of intense sunlight. GIS can also be used to manage the locations of solar panels within an area.

Another use for GIS software is for businesses who want to use solar panels to reduce their carbon footprint (and their energy bills). By combining elevation data with solar maps, engineers can determine whether a building has adequate surface area on its roof to install solar panels.

A Solar Radiation Map  that could be used in the Site Selection Process for solar farmsFigure 2: A Solar Radiation Map


GIS is incredibly versatile and it has many green applications. Not only can it be used to create wind maps for harnessing the power of the wind, but it can also be used to create solar maps for the placement and management of solar panels. GIS is an important tool that researchers and engineers around the world can use to help us to achieve a greener planet.



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