Solar farm: Siting, design and land footprint analysis

Sukumaran S., Sudhakar K., Yusop A. F., Kirpichnikova I., Cüce E.


  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 17
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1093/ijlct/ctac107
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Applied Science & Technology Source, CAB Abstracts, Compendex, Computer & Applied Sciences, Greenfile, INSPEC, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Page Numbers: pp.1478-1491
  • Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University Affiliated: Yes


Solar farms are becoming a crucial part of the renewable energy mix. Yet, the literature has not reported a generalized approach to its design. In this regard, this paper attempts to provide a detailed plan of a 5-MW grid-connected solar farm. In addition, the procedure to analyze the land footprint of the solar plant is also developed. At first, the main components of the solar farm are selected qualitatively. Then, using an excel spreadsheet, the sizing of photovoltaic (PV) array, inverters, combiner boxes, transformers, cables and protection devices is carried out. Finally, the land footprint analysis of the proposed solar farm was carried out mathematically. The proposed solar PV power plant comprises 13 490 numbers of PV modules with a 365-W rating. Nineteen numbers of PV modules will constitute a string. One hundred forty-two numbers of strings will be connected to an inverter of 1 MW rating. The energy output from five such inverters will be fed to the nearest electric substation using a transformer of 1 MVA capacity. The DC and AC cables having a voltage drop of less than 1% are selected. The inter-row distance and ground coverage ratio (GCR) are estimated as 1 and 0.78 m, respectively. The required number of mounting module structures is found to be 710. The proposed solar farm’s total land use requirement is ~43768.41 m2 (around 3 acres). It was observed that the sizing of solar plant components mainly depends on the electrical parameters of the PV module and inverter selected by the designer. Similarly, the land use requirement is influenced by the inter-row distance and PV site layout. This research is expected to streamline the different approaches of solar farm design, which will be beneficial to energy professionals and policymakers.