Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Jason Beasley

Second Advisor

Timothy Palmer

Third Advisor

Christine Moser


The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) contains a significant number of incentives, both grants and loans, for state and local governments to institute clean energy-related projects. As such, and to aid in the development of decision-making support tools for solar investments in the City of Kalamazoo, this research contains a ground-mounted solar project suitability map with an additional development siting potential map for the municipal government of Kalamazoo. The main purpose of this study is to evaluate the feasibility and specific parcel-by-parcel siting potential of land for the construction of solar projects in the Kalamazoo Area. In doing so, a GIS analysis was undertaken using the proven AHP method to test the hypothesis that there is suitable land present within the GKA that has relatively high potential for solar project siting. Furthermore, the gap in the assistance of municipal decision-makers regarding the siting of clean energy resources is addressed as smaller parcels of land, US-specific regulatory barriers, and overlooked advantages inherent to municipalities are considered. In the conclusion of this research, it was found that over 36.93% of the total land within a 10.75 mi radius of the city center of Kalamazoo is suitable for solar project development. This land could be utilized to generate a potential 8,014 MW of electricity if it was all transformed into solar farms. Also, it was discovered that over 69.38% of all the suitable land in the Greater Kalamazoo Area is located in the medium-to-high potential scale for solar development. These results showcase the pertinent potential of solar energy generation for the City of Kalamazoo in its inevitable transition to clean energy. In addition to these insights, a map was generated which depicts the relative potential for solar project siting of each parcel of land that is suitable for solar energy. This map, alongside the other insights already discussed, are very significant for aiding the City of Kalamazoo and other stakeholders in the future of clean energy development for the municipal government and its constituents. A final, and important, finding are the synergies posed by the land that the municipal government of Kalamazoo already owns, and the parcels of land that are both suitable for project development and have a high potential for energy generation and interconnection. These synergies, and the land therein, are of the utmost importance for the decision-makers within the City of Kalamazoo to evaluate for the most cost-effective investments in solar energy development.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access