Palmer_1-s2.0-S0960148118310590-main (1).pdf (2.67 MB)
Download file

The future scope of large-scale solar in the UK: site suitability and target analysis

Download (2.67 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 11.09.2018, 09:23 by Diane Palmer, Ralph Gottschalg, Tom BettsTom Betts
This paper uses site suitability analysis to identify locations for solar farms in the UK to help meet climate change targets. A set of maps, each representing a given suitability criterion, is created with geographical information systems (GIS) software. These are combined to give a Boolean map of areas which are appropriate for large-scale solar farm installation. Several scenarios are investigated by varying the criteria, which include geographical (land use) factors, solar energy resource and electrical distribution network constraints. Some are dictated by the physical and technical requirements of large-scale solar construction, and some by government or distribution network operator (DNO) policy. It is found that any suitability map which does not heed planning permission and grid constraints will overstate potential solar farm area by up to 97%. This research finds sufficient suitable land to meet Future Energy Scenarios (UK National Grid outlines for the coming energy landscape).


This work has been conducted as part of the research projects ‘PV2025 - Potential Costs and Benefits of Photovoltaic for UK Infrastructure and Society’ and ‘Joint UK-India Clean Energy Centre (JUICE)’ which are funded by the RCUK's Energy Programme (contract no: EP/K02227X/1 and contract no: EP/P003605/1).



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Published in

Renewable Energy


PALMER, D., GOTTSCHALG, R. and BETTS, T.R., 2019. The future scope of large-scale solar in the UK: site suitability and target analysis. Renewable Energy, 133, pp. 1136-1146.


Elsevier © The Authors


VoR (Version of Record)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: by/4.0/

Acceptance date


Publication date



This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Elsevier under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: