The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has issued an update to the list of circumstances in which a Glint and Glare assessment must be carried out for proposed solar developments. In particular, the SACAA states that glint and glare assessments are required when the solar development is situated in close proximity to an aerodrome; under the approach or take-off climb obstacle limitation surfaces, and within 3km of the aerodrome.
Figure 1: South African Airways Airbus.
This notice, Obstacle Notice 3/2020, serves as a replacement for the requirements set out in Obstacle notice 4/2017, which can be found here. The new requirements are reproduced below.
Obstacle Notice 3/2020 (Replacement for 17/11/2017): Additional Requirements for Solar Project Applications
Kindly note that with immediate effect, A Glint & Glare Assessment will be required as soon as the proposed site is located on the extended runway centreline within the ICAO Annex 14 Approach Surface, Take-Off Climb Surface & Departure Surface, and within 3km radius around an Aerodrome/helistop as pe Part 139.01.30 (3).
The new solar project applications must be accompanied by a Glint & Glare Impact Assessment Report with specific relevance to aviation & aircraft operations. It is recommended that a Glint & Glare Impact Assessment Report be obtained for solar project applications which have already been submitted to the SACAA.
There are various organisations who can perform glint & glare impact assessment. It is however recommended that a credible organisation be utilised for this purpose.
Please note that the cost for any Impact Assessment Report will be for the account of the applicant.
Queries regarding this requirement can be directed to the Obstacle Inspectorate.
Why are Glint and Glare assessments required?
Direct solar reflections from solar panels can adversely affect pilots of aircraft and air traffic controllers. The proliferation of reflective surfaces may be deemed a safety hazard in some instances if a development is not located and positioned appropriately. Typically reflections of the sun from solar panels are most intense when the sunlight is incident to the panel.
How does this compare to other glare guidance?
Within South Africa, there was previously a requirement to obtain a Glint and Glare assessment for all solar projects submitted to the SACAA and as such these new requirements are less stringent than those from Obstacle Notice 4/2017, which they replace.
Elsewhere, the guidance on glare around airports set out by the FAA in 2013 is still commonly held as the industry standard, despite having been superseded last year by guidance tasking aerodromes with determining their own specific safety requirements . The guidance requires no glare to be directed towards the ATC tower and no more than ‘low potential for temporary after image’ towards pilots on a 2 mile approach path to the runway thresholds.
Version 4 of Pager Power’s Glint and Glare guidance states that a Glint and Glare assessment is may be required within 10km of an aerodrome. There is no formal buffer distance within which aviation effects must be modelled internationally.
For reference, in practice within the UK, concerns are most often raised for developments within 10km of a licensed airport. Assessment of unlicensed aerodromes can also be requested; however, these are inherently less closely safeguarded than licensed aerodromes. Some aerodromes in the UK also request these conditions to be met for visual circuits in addition to a 2 mile approach path, although this is not mentioned in the 2013 FAA guidance.
When comparing the guidance within the USA and UK, the South African guidance is relatively less strict by comparison. Pager Power has mitigated for solar developments producing significant effects much beyond 3km and yet not below the runway centre line.
Why choose Pager Power for your Glint and Glare Assessment?
There are various organisations that provide Glint and Glare assessments including Pager Power. Renewable developers choose Pager Power because:
- Our first South African Renewable Energy report was completed in 2010
- We have delivered over 900 Glint and Glare assessments worldwide
- We have extensive experience consulting with various aviation stakeholders.
- Our experience in safeguarding aviation concerns is not limited to glint and glare but also Obstacle limitation and aviation impact assessments.
- We also have expertise in assessing proposed developments against Obstacle Limitation Surfaces, including the approach and take off climb surfaces. We are therefore able to advise as to whether a proposed solar development requires a Glint and Glare Assessment under the SACAA guidance.
Contact us for a free initial consultation and a free no obligation proposal. There is a 5 working day delivery option available.
To read more about the SACAA’s new requirements, click here.
To read our article on the previous requirements, click here.
To read more about Pager Power’s Glint and Glare guidance and obtain a free download of the guidance click here.
 FAA (2021) Federal Aviation Administration Policy: Review of Solar Energy System Projects on Federally-Obligated Airports Available at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/05/11/2021-09862/federal-aviation-administration-policy-review-of-solar-energy-system-projects-on-federally-obligated
 Konstantin von Wedelstaedt (July 2006) on Wikkicommins.com. Last accessed on 16th November 2022. Available at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26833959