Suitability Analysis for Solar Energy System Development using GIS and AHP in Cagayan Province, Philippines
Renewable energy system development includes necessary and precise planning for identifying the energy potentials involving the selection of sufficient factors, criteria, methods and techniques. Establishing a solar energy system in Cagayan Valley Region is very suggestive; however, scientific reports and literature about it are lacking. This study aimed to determine a suitable location for solar energy system development and potential energy generation in Cagayan province, Philippines. It employed and demonstrated the application and combination of the geographic information system (GIS) and multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM) technique, particularly the analytical hierarchy process (AHP). Three criteria were considered, namely technical aspect (solar insolation), environmental aspect (land use-land cover and protection buffers) and economic aspect (slope, elevation and road proximity). Results showed that only 18.47% (1716.9 km2) of the total land area was suitable for solar photovoltaic system development. With the total suitable area, a solar electricity generation potential of 139.9 TWh/year can be attained even considering the least module efficiency of 10%. This solar energy generation potential is generally higher than that of the household electricity consumption of the Cagayan Valley Region, which could be a great avenue for energy sustainability for the province and the region. With sufficient factors and criteria, the combination of GIS and AHP tool is a great technique in identifying renewable energy projects’ suitability in a certain location.