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Open AccessArticle

Multi-Attribute Decision-Making: Applying a Modified Brown–Gibson Model and RETScreen Software to the Optimal Location Process of Utility-Scale Photovoltaic Plants

Energy Systems Engineering Program, Cyprus International University, Nicosia 99258, Cyprus
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Processes 2019, 7(8), 505; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr7080505
Received: 7 July 2019 / Revised: 24 July 2019 / Accepted: 31 July 2019 / Published: 2 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multi-Objective Optimization of Processes)
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Abstract

Due to environmental and economic drawbacks of fossil fuels, global renewable energy (RE) capacity has increased significantly over the last decade. Solar photovoltaic (PV) is one of the fastest-growing RE technologies. Selecting an appropriate site is one of the most critical steps in utility-scale solar PV planning. This paper aims at proposing a rational multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM) approach based on the Brown–Gibson model for optimal site selection for utility-scale solar PV projects. The proposed model considers the project’s net present value (NPV) along with seven suitability factors and six critical (constraint) factors. The RETScreen software was applied in calculating the NPV, the simple payback period and the carbon emission savings of the project at each alternative site. The weights of the suitability factors were determined using the analytical hierarchy process. Applied to the case study of finding the best location for a 5 MW solar PV project in northern Cameroon, the optimization results showed that Mokolo was the optimal location. The sensitivity analysis results revealed that the rankings of alternative sites based on the project’s NPV and the proposed model are not consistent. Compared to the traditional MCDM approaches, the proposed model provides decision-makers with a more practical thinking method in the optimal location process of utility-scale solar projects. View Full-Text
Keywords: renewable energy; photovoltaic; Cameroon; RETScreen; optimal location; multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM); Brown–Gibson model; analytic hierarchy process (AHP) renewable energy; photovoltaic; Cameroon; RETScreen; optimal location; multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM); Brown–Gibson model; analytic hierarchy process (AHP)
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Yimen, N.; Dagbasi, M. Multi-Attribute Decision-Making: Applying a Modified Brown–Gibson Model and RETScreen Software to the Optimal Location Process of Utility-Scale Photovoltaic Plants. Processes 2019, 7, 505.

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