Document Type : Research article


1 Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, Arak University, 38156879 Arak, Iran

2 Department of Sustainable Landscape Development, Institute of Geosciences and Geography, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, 06120 Halle, Germany


Abstract: The demand for non-renewable energy sources in power generation is essential for almost all residential and commercial applications. This type of energy can contribute significantly to national development plans. Nevertheless, as fossil fuel consumption increases and reserves diminish, there has been a transition towards utilizing renewable energy sources like solar, water, and wind. As a result, the use of renewable sources has experienced a significant surge in recent times. In Iran, despite the rich resources of fossil fuels, solar energy systems play an important role in meeting the country’s energy needs due to its geographical location, which is suitable for the exploitation of solar energy. This study used the analytic network process (ANP) and Genetic algorithm (GA) to find optimal locations for establishing Solar Power Plant Stations in Markazi province, Iran. Morphological factors like slope, elevation, and solar radiation were found to be important in determining site suitability for solar photovoltaic systems. Research findings revealed that the northwest and northern parts of Markazi province exhibit the most favorable conditions for solar photovoltaic power generation, mainly due to their less complex topography. Through the utilization of a genetic algorithm (which provided better results than ANP), it was determined that approximately 24,000 km2 of land in these regions is suitable for the establishment of solar power facilities. The results were further divided into three categories based on suitability levels, namely highly suitable (2,429.312 km²), moderately suitable (16,818.49 km²), and suitable (5,029.007 km²) for solar energy projects. Among the areas assessed, Saveh had the highest potential (3605.147 km²), while Ashtian, Khondab, and Shazand exhibited the least potential. These insights provide valuable information for stakeholders interested in advancing solar energy initiatives in the northwest and northern regions of Markazi province.