As part of Berkeley Lab’s Community-Centered Solar Development (CCSD) project, this research set out to explore deep insights and perceptions from large-scale solar (LSS) stakeholders that only qualitative data can provide to identify key factors driving project success or threatened failure. Case studies, such as those utilized in this research, are uniquely adept at capturing the subjective experience of individuals and at identifying variables, structures, and interactions between stakeholders. Our case studies included 54 semi-structured interviews across 7 different LSS sites, representing a diversity of geographies, project sizes (MW), site types (i.e., greenfield, agrivoltaic, and brownfield / contaminated sites), zoning jurisdiction types, and more. In addition to local residents living in close proximity to these LSS sites, we interviewed other key stakeholders involved in the projects such as developers, decision-makers, utility representatives, landowners, and individuals from community-based organizations. The overarching aim of this case study research was two-fold: (1) to inform subsequent tasks in the CCSD research project (including an upcoming national survey of LSS neighbors), and (2) to provide insights into the following set of research questions: -What are the key positive and negative drivers leading to support and opposition to LSS projects? -To what extent do LSS projects exacerbate or mitigate perceived inequities and marginalization within hosting communities and how can those inequities be mitigated going forward? -What strategies can communities employ to align LSS development with local land-use plans and community needs and values?
In this study, researchers tested hypotheses on the extent to which varying image content representing different types of grassland use affects the visual perception and acceptance of agrivoltaics. In the before-and-after comparison, the acceptance of agrivoltaics increased significantly only for grasslands and special crops. The results suggest that attitudes towards agrivoltaics are rather stable and cannot be easily modulated by additional information.
This article uses the food–energy–water (FEW) nexus framework to delineate three different perspectives of solar energy development on farmland. The first two perspectives fit into the FEW nexus language of “trade-offs” and “synergies” respectively, arguing that solar energy development either conflicts with agricultural land use and food security or, alternatively, that the two land uses can be co-located appropriately to create agrivoltaic systems. The third perspective is a compromise, arguing that solar energy preserves farmland for future agricultural use.
In this article, the authors conducted a qualitative study revolving around three methodological approaches: a press analysis, a review of scientific literature, and fieldwork in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques district in France. Their analysis highlights four main results: (i) agrivoltaism is an innovation conceptualized in techno-scientific arenas which seek to define its agricultural viability; (ii) at the national level, the remote control by the State does not provide a framework for governance capable of involving the various actors in the fields of agriculture and energy; (iii) the deployment of agrivoltaism systems across regions engenders conflict while placing key local actors in a situation of uncertainty with regard to how best to manage this innovation; (iv) while individuals are subjected to territorialization, this paradoxically favors structural policy innovations which outline the contours of territorial governance.
This research looks at the decision factors informing private landowners’ decisions to host solar sites on their land through a case study in California. Applying land system science and agricultural decision-making theory, we find that landowner decisions to host utility scale solar sites are based on profit-maximization, water availability, visual and ecological landscape values, and agricultural land preservation ethic.
Understanding circularity and landscape experience in agrivoltaics contributes to enabling agriculture transitions and increasing public acceptance. This study examines these topics in built agrivoltaic projects reported in scientific literature, and provides recommendations for researchers, farmers, and policy makers to pay more attention to landscape experience while constructing agrivoltaic sites.
Understanding the basis on which stakeholders judge and decide on such innovations is crucial to understanding perception and adoption, especially when the potential value of an innovation is not solely on an individual level but also on a societal level. Researchers combine two theoretical lenses, the innovation diffusion theory for an individual and the social acceptance perspective for a societal lens. Through 27 semi-structured stakeholder interviews, we explore perceptions of agrivoltaics by different stakeholder types in three countries (Germany, Belgium, and Denmark) and different agrivoltaics system designs (vertical, horizontal, and as replacement of cover installations).
In this project, researchers placed sheep on a college campus in an effort to examine the social benefits of grazing lawnscape management. The project sought to determine if the presence of the sheep decreased stress levels among the student body; if sheep grazing events created opportunities for education about well-being and engagement with the community; and if the sheep grazing contributed to the identity of the college campus. The researchers found that the presence of the sheep provided temporary, in-the-moment stress relief for students, and the events fostered a sense of community and placemaking. Sheep grazing did not appear to have an impact on the overall campus identity.
In this paper, an integrated methodology is developed to determine optimum areas for Photovoltaic (PV) installations that minimize the relevant visual disturbance and satisfy spatial constraints associated with land use, as well as environmental and techno-economic siting factors. The visual disturbance due to PV installations is quantified by introducing and calculating the “Social Disturbance” (SDIS) indicator, whereas optimum locations are determined for predefined values of two siting preferences (maximum allowable PV locations—grid station distance and minimum allowable total coverage area of PV installations). Thematic maps of appropriate selected exclusion criteria are produced, followed by a cumulative weighted viewshed analysis, where the SDIS indicator is calculated. Optimum solutions are then determined by developing and employing a Genetic Algorithms (GAs) optimization process. The methodology is applied for the municipality of La Palma Del Condado in Spain for 100 different combinations of the two siting preferences. The optimization results are also employed to create a flexible and easy-to-use web-GIS application, facilitating policy-makers to choose the set of solutions that better fulfils their preferences. The GAs algorithm offers the ability to determine distinguishable, but compact, regions of optimum locations in the region, whereas the results indicate the strong dependence of the optimum areas upon the two siting preferences.
In the context of accelerated climate crisis this article investigates the energetic-political possibilities of solar energy in the Czech Republic. In the absence of solar cooperatives, the article examines residential PV installations and a ground-mounted solar mono-plantation as a terrain for possible commoning. It proposes technoecologies as a framework and tool to not only focus on what solar infrastructure brings together, but also what is left out or disarticulated in specific arrangements but can be seen as infrastructure’s productive “limits” that entail possibilities for differential inclusion, regeneration, and care. Ethnographic technoecological analysis shows how unexpected plant growth within the plantation points to multispecies refuges transforming the electric monoculture, and how electrical rewiring could connect PV arrays to households in multiple occupancy buildings (paneláky) in ways that enable new forms of sharing and joyful squandering of electricity in times of energy abundance.