Mojave Desert Ecosystem Program Solar and Wind Energy Suitability Modeling Tools

Publication Date


Committee Chair

Mark P. Kumler, Ph.D.

Committee Members

Douglas M. Flewelling, Ph.D.


Interest in renewable energy is growing rapidly and land managers are actively investigating if properties are suitable for development of renewable energy systems in the Mojave Desert region of California. This project focused on photovoltaic solar, concentrating solar, and wind energy as three main renewable energy methods pertaining to the Mojave area. Geographic information systems (GIS) can be used to assess development potential in a specific area. The suitability tools this project produces allow user-defined, feature-importance weighting allocation to data within the model using an ordered weighted average technique. Development of these tools took place in ArcInfo 10 and utilized prebuilt Spatial Analyst tools to process the data. The weighted overlay tool, combined with an exclusion operation, produces a raster file which clearly shows suitable and unsuitable areas using a green, orange, red color scheme, respectively. A comparison of the tool outcome to three, facility locations determined the suitability tools correctly sited potential renewable energy areas of the Mojave Desert.

Full text is available at the University of Redlands


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