An Integrated GIS, optimization and simulation framework for optimal PV size and location in campus area environments

Sadik Kucuksari, Amirreza M. Khaleghi, Maryam Hamidi, Ye Zhang, Ferenc Szidarovszky, Guzin Bayraksan, Young Jun Son

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Finding the optimal size and locations for Photovoltaic (PV) units has been a major challenge for distribution system planners and researchers. In this study, a framework is proposed to integrate Geographical Information Systems (GIS), mathematical optimization, and simulation modules to obtain the annual optimal placement and size of PV units for the next two decades in a campus area environment. First, a GIS module is developed to find the suitable rooftops and their panel capacity considering the amount of solar radiation, slope, elevation, and aspect. The optimization module is then used to maximize the long-term net profit of PV installations considering various costs of investment, inverter replacement, operation, and maintenance as well as savings from consuming less conventional energy. A voltage profile of the electricity distribution network is then investigated in the simulation module. In the case of voltage limit violation by intermittent PV generations or load fluctuations, two mitigation strategies, reallocation of the PV units or installation of a local storage unit, are suggested. The proposed framework has been implemented in a real campus area, and the results show that it can effectively be used for long-term installation planning of PV panels considering both the cost and power quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1601-1613
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Energy
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Distributed generation
  • GIS
  • Optimal location and size
  • Photovoltaic
  • Power quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Energy
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Building and Construction
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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