In ArcMap, I'm trying to create a site suitability map for a solar farm but I have issues with the building footprint file. I'd like to exclude areas with buildings but I have no idea how to go about that given there are numerous polygons representing buildings, and offsetting each one of them seems ineffective. I tried once but it was still creating buffers after 2 days of starting.
If you do not have the entire area in a polygon, you could just create a polygon layer that holds the entire set of building footprints. You will call the layer "Suitability Area". then you use the Erase tool from the ArcToolbox and use it to punch holes in the big polygon using the the footprints. Check out this link for more details https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ViVKIEM7pg you could create a buffer of the footprints if the installation cannot be near a certain distance from the buildings then use the erase tool.
Here is the latest documentation on the erase tool: https://pro.arcgis.com/en/pro-app/2.9/tool-reference/analysis/erase.htm