Due to the increasing demand for electricity, the depletion of fossil fuels and the increase in environmental consciousness, generating power from renewable energy resources has become necessary. How to select the most appropriate site is a critical and foremost decision that must be made when setting up a renewable energy plant. This research proposes a two-stage framework for evaluating the suitability of renewable energy plant site alternatives. In the first stage, a fuzzy analytic hierarchy process (FAHP) is adopted to set the assurance region (AR) of the quantitative factors, and the AR is incorporated into data envelopment analysis (DEA) to assess the efficiencies of plant site candidates. A few sites are selected for further analysis. In the second stage, experts are invited to evaluate the qualitative characteristics of the selected sites, and FAHP is used to calculate the priorities of these sites. Solar energy is one of the most promising renewable energy sources, because of its abundance, inexhaustibility, safety and cleanliness. Based on the proposed integrated decision-making model, a case study for selecting the most appropriate photovoltaic (PV) solar plant site is examined.
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