Solar Farms and Aviation

by Pavel Davidyuk, Specialist Consultant - Aviation Safety

According to a report issued in 2018 by the International Renewable Energy Agency, Australia is among the top 10 countries for electricity production from renewable sources. In 2017 the Australian energy market generated 6419 MW from solar sources, with production expected to increase in the future.

With more and more solar farms being developed in an increasingly diverse range of locations, the impact of new developments on aircraft operations needs to be addressed. For aviators, this is particularly important if the proposed solar farm project site is located near an aerodrome.

The most common hazard to aviation posed by solar farms is the glare that is created by solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. Glare can temporarily blind a pilot and/or cause a visual nuisance to people living in the project area. As it happens, PV panels are designed to absorb light, so they reflect only a small amount of the sunlight that falls on them compared with most other everyday objects. And it is worth nothing that solar panels reflect significantly less light than flat water.
Other risks to aviation that can arise from solar farms include turbulence and interference to aircraft navigation equipment.

Aviation Projects has extensive experience in the assessment of solar glare and other risks posed by solar farm developments. If you need help in understanding and addressing the risks to aviation posed by solar farms, please contact us.

Tags: Solar Farms, Solar Glare, Turbulence, Interference To Nav Aids

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