Optimal planning of a remote area electricity supply (RAES) system is a vital challenge to achieve a reliable, clean, and cost-effective system. Various components like diesel generators, renewable energy sources, and energy storage systems are used for RAES systems. Due to the different characteristics and economic features of each component, optimal planning of RAES systems is a challengeable task. This paper presents an overview of the optimal planning procedure for RAES systems by considering the important components, parameters, methods, and data. A timely review on the state of the art is presented and the applied objective functions, design constraints, system components, and optimization algorithms are specified for the existing studies. The existing challenges for RAES systems` planning are recognized and discussed. Recent trends and developments on the planning problem are explained in detail. Eventually, this review paper gives recommendations for future research to explore the optimal planning of components in RAES systems.