Project Introduction:

Solar technologies have the potential to provide clean and secure energy to help meet the nation’s power needs. Additionally, solar technologies provide an opportunity to further develop an emerging economic sector. Historically, solar energy has not made economic sense compared to other sources of energy due to the high costs associated with intermittency and photovoltaic (PV) production. Recently, technologies have seen improvements, specifically in the production of PV components, which has resulted in bringing down the costs and making solar a more viable option.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative aims to achieve cost-competitive solar without subsidy by following a plan to realize a 75% overall cost reduction by the end of the decade. As PV module costs continue to drop, the non-hardware (i.e., soft) balance-of-system costs remain a large portion of the overall system cost These soft balance-of-system costs include permitting, environmental requirements, and costs associated with social concern. The goal of the SunShot Initiative is for utility‑scale solar developments within the continental United States to provide 15 to 18% of America’s electricity. The PVMapper system will provide specific information to help developers select sites with minimal development costs and the greatest social acceptance.

The mission of PVMapper is to assist utility-scale solar development companies in making optimum siting decisions. PVMapper augments user knowledge and tools by providing the ability to do the following:

· To assess sites based on the quantifiable physical characteristics and the constraints of the natural resource (i.e., site properties)

· To provide and integrate a comprehensive set of site data and geographical layers

· To include measures for social risk and public acceptance

· To enable customization of site selection weighting and decision criteria (i.e., site scores).

This report discusses the general architecture for the site selection weighting and site comparison approach.

Steering Committee

Our project steering committee includes the following individuals. We are appreciative of their on-going feedback and support of PVMapper. 

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Software Approach

PVMapper is a geographical information system (GIS) that provides users with the same type of information and capabilities that are common today with open source mapping tools. In addition to these mapping functions, PVMapper has added an independent site comparison capability. The site comparison framework is organized in such a way that information can flow between the PVMapper map data layer and comparison information layer.



PVMapper will be a web-based Geographic Information System (GIS) project planning application designed to help solar energy developers better locate and plan large-scale solar utility projects. PVMapper will be an open-source application that will provide the open-source community with the flexibility and freedom to further develop and focus uses of the tool. Internally developed data sets and externally generated data sources or layers will be integrated into the tool. Specific, internally developed data layers may include environmental, military, land use, solar resource assessments, water resource assessments, and other factors collaboratively identified by the project team and steering committee. Connectivity to external data sources will be a critical element of the tool, to provide access to up-to-date data sources.

The application will integrate social criteria and constraints into the siting process. This functionality is expected to decrease overall project risk by avoiding potential delays in permitting and financing due to public/interest group opposition to high risk sites, or alternatively by identifying areas with higher social acceptance that are likely uncontroversial. Scientifically conducted surveys of public opinion that measure how much the public prefers a project to avoid or be placed near various types of land-based features will be incorporated.

The intended audience for PVMapper includes solar power utility developers, Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs), and other interested parties. Interfaces will also be provided for a special class of users to provide input data. These users include regional economic developers and power purchasers.

Each changeset is auto-built, tested, and hosted at


using System;
public class HelloWorld
   public static void Main(params string[] args)
   Console.WriteLine("Hello World!");

Last edited Sep 23, 2014 at 8:42 PM by danames, version 8