Research question re: parcel shape impact on solar power plants

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Research question re: parcel shape impact on solar power plants

Hello all, I am researching the impact of parcel shape on solar power plants. Specifically, I am trying to determine the feasibility of placing any type of solar power plant on a long rectangular strip of land (with long axis alligned east-west), and how that elongated shape would impact development and operational costs. We are assuming a minimum value on the short side of 1/2 mile.

I have not been able to locate an appropriate input field on SAM to test this question. Any thoughts, opinions, or references would be greatly appreciated.

Paul Gilman


The shape of the array might affect shadows on the array if it is installed near trees or tall buildings, and it would affect the amount of self shading between rows of modules. It would also affect the length of wiring, depending on where connection points and inverters are located in the array.

SAM is not an array layout tool, so you have to include those kinds of effects in your assumptions. SAM includes options for modeling shading of the array by nearby objects, and for self shading. You account for wiring losses using inputs on the Losses page, but you have to calculate those values outside of SAM.

For more about SAM's modeling capabilities, see the list of recorded webinars on the SAM webinars page at

The online SolarPro Magazine is a good resource with articles written by solar industry professionals about different topics -- you might try searching it for keywords like "array layout," "wiring losses", or "shading."

Software like Helioscope and others that you can find by searching the web for "pv array layout software" are designed to help you work out the details of laying out the array.

Best regards,

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