Choosing a plot of land for a photovoltaic farm

Choosing a plot of land for a photovoltaic farm

Criteria for Site Selection for the Construction of a Photovoltaic Farm. Key Elements and Tips.

I’m Arek, and today, together with you, we will dissect the important aspects of siting photovoltaic farms.

Why this particular issue? The answer is simple! Solar energy is the foundation of today’s sustainable energy development efforts in Poland and around the world, it is a key part of this transition. If you are looking for answers to the questions: how to choose a plot of land for investment in photovoltaic farms? What to watch out for? What are the most common mistakes made by investors? And other it you are in the right place.

That’s why today we’ll explore together the ins and outs of choosing a site for a photovoltaic farm. This is where the key to complete success lies.

Success about the definition of photovoltaic farm efficiency and optimized CAPEX and OPEX costs for investors. We will go through this issue step by step so that after today’s episode you will be able to take an informed approach to choosing the location of your photovoltaic farm.

What is necessary to make the right decision regarding the choice of location where we will install our photovoltaic farm. Undoubtedly, this is one of the key steps on the road to success in the renewable energy field. In a moment, we will discuss the key criteria to consider when searching for the perfect site, the perfect pv plot. Ready to travel and choose a site for your photovoltaic farm? Here we go!

The Importance of Site Selection

Now that we have understood the huge role of photovoltaic farms in terms of our future, let’s focus on the key element – choosing the right site for our installation. This decision has a direct bearing on efficiency, the complexity of the project to build, and the cost and profitability of the solution. Why is location so important?

First of all, the amount of sunlight the site receives is a key factor in the performance of a photovoltaic farm. Without the right amount of solar radiation, solar panels will not be able to produce the expected amount of energy.

Solar conditions in Szczecin are completely different, and here we have about 900 kWh/m2. It is different in the Lublin province where this parameter reaches up to 1,200 kWh/m2.

What does this mean in practice? This means that by choosing to locate in Lubelskie in our portfolio we gain an additional 300 kWh. This is an average of £180 from each kilowatt installed. For a 1 MW farm, that’s an amount of PLN 180,000. And it’s a profit thanks to geographic location. Therefore, it is important that the location is well-lit for most of the day. In contrast, obstacles such as buildings and trees did not block access to the sun. And this is just the beginning!

In addition to the amount of sunlight, the topography of the land also plays a key role. Differences in terrain can affect the angle of the sun’s rays on the panels, which also affects their performance. Hills, valleys, or even places with natural shade can pose challenges to the effective operation of a photovoltaic farm. That’s why today we emphasize how fundamental it is to understand and take into account the specifics of the area. We should also not forget about high wind zones or floodplains. It is very important to provide information on whether the plot is located in floodwater areas. This is important for the safety and durability of the photovoltaic farm.

Criteria – Selecting a plot of land for a photovoltaic farm

Let’s move on to the next key criteria that we must dutifully consider. Remember that every place is different, and choosing a location is not just a matter of sunshine or terrain. It is also a number of other factors that affect the efficiency and sustainability of a photovoltaic farm.

The first important criterion is the distance from the Main Power Point, commonly referred to as the GPZet. This is a key element, because the farther away from the GPZ, the more difficult it will be to cooperate with the local operator’s power grid, making it more difficult to obtain grid connection conditions. Of course, a prerequisite is the available connection capacity declared by the DSO. The distance to the GPZ also affects the ability to connect more installations, so this is a key consideration when choosing a location. It is customary to assume that the optimal distance from the GPZ after the medium-voltage line is up to a maximum of 15 kilometers. However, it is worth noting that the closer to the GPZ, the easier it is to connect a farm with a capacity of more than 1 MW.

The next element in the process is the ground surface. Here we must note that a 1 MW farm is deployed on a maximum area of about 1.5 hectares. Although the lease may cover larger areas, it is important that the land meets our requirements in terms of topography of the land and land classes. Leasing an area of, say, 100 hectares, while theoretically exceeding our needs, is inappropriate if only a small part of the land is suitable for a photovoltaic farm. It is also worth noting that although the lease agreement may cover the entire property, it is necessary to designate the area that is actually suitable for the construction of a PV farm.

Another criterion is the topography of the area. As you explore, you will notice that the topography varies. That’s why it’s worth considering the flattest possible areas or those with a south-facing slope. When planning a location, we recommend determining a site proposal based on an interview with the owner or, preferably, after a field inspection.

To summarize this thread, the process of selecting a site for a photovoltaic farm is a complicated process that requires consideration of many factors. We listened to the key criteria to be consulted when analyzing potential sites for the construction of a farm. In the following parts of this episode, we will cover more aspects of this fascinating issue.

Legal Regulations, Selecting a plot of land for a photovoltaic farm.

Now that we have reviewed the key technical and infrastructural criteria for selecting a site for a photovoltaic farm, it is time to look at the other side of the coin – regulations. The law plays a key role in shaping and controlling renewable energy investments, and photovoltaic farms are no exception. So let’s discuss the relevant regulations for siting photovoltaic farms.

It should be noted that the changes introduced in 2023 in laws from construction, energy, to environmental protection significantly affect the criteria for land selection in legal and administrative terms because they indicate where we can build a photovoltaic farm and where we cannot. First, we check whether the area has a current local zoning plan. The changes introduced in the laws involve removing photovoltaic systems from industrial and warehouse development, moving them to newly created types of projects with separately determined development areas.

In effect, if there is an MPZP, the matter is simple. We are checking whether the resolution allows the construction of this type of development at this location.

If there is no such plan then at further stages we will have to obtain two very important administrative decisions, that is: environmental decision and development conditions. That is why it is worth checking two issues: the qualitative class of the land and checking the areas of natural value. The new draft law on land use planning stipulates that investments of this type can be located on agricultural land of Class V and VI, while on agricultural land of Class IV with an installed electrical capacity of more than 150 kW or used for the business of electricity generation. In such cases, it will be necessary to obtain a zoning decision at a later stage.

Another important aspect is to increase the value of the development area for photovoltaic systems in areas where there are no areas of natural value. The previous value of 1 hectare has been raised to 2 hectares, which is important for investors, especially when planning larger capacities. For the sake of comparison, recall that the previous value of the development area requiring an environmental decision was 0.5 hectares in nature conservation areas and 1 hectare in areas outside these areas.

Summary and Tips. Selecting a plot of land for a photovoltaic farm.

Ahead of us is the final part of today’s podcast, in which we will summarize the key aspects of choosing a site for a photovoltaic farm. It’s a fascinating challenge, full of technical details, but also rich in opportunities to grow and contribute to a sustainable future. Let’s start with the most important points to consider. The first key element is a thorough analysis of the geographic and climatic conditions in the area. Understanding the amount of sunlight, the topography of the area and the microclimate will allow us to maximize the efficiency of the photovoltaic farm. Another important aspect is location in terms of infrastructure. Proximity to the Main Power Point and the availability of medium-voltage lines are key to a smooth connection to the grid, which has a direct impact on the project’s profitability. When talking about profitability, investors should also take into account current legislation. Although these in Poland are changing very dynamically. That’s why it’s a good idea to delegate checking a specific location to experts to be 100% sure that the chosen location is the best one.

Finally, I would like to thank you, dear listeners, for your time. I hope that our podcast has provided you with valuable information and inspiration related to the topic of photovoltaic farms.

I also encourage you to share your opinions and questions. Your experiences, insights and questions are a valuable source of inspiration for us for future episodes. If you have questions, comments, or would like us to address specific issues, feel free to write to us at our email address. We are here for you to provide the most valuable and up-to-date knowledge. There are many fascinating renewable energy topics ahead, so don’t forget to follow us and stay tuned for more episodes. That’s all for today. Thanks again and we’ll hear from you in our next podcast episode on photovoltaic farms.

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