The local implementation of renewable energy projects often faces opposition. The landscape transformation that comes with the transition to renewables is one of the key counter-arguments of local stakeholders. In this article, we examine the relation between research on ‘designing landscape transformations’ and ‘acceptance of renewable energy projects’; whether and how these bodies of knowledge may complement each other. The systematic literature review revealed that acceptance studies and landscape design studies describe 25 similar factors that influence acceptance. The majority of these factors are somewhat general in nature, such as economic benefits, visual impact, and aesthetics. Additionally, we found 45 unique factors in acceptance studies and sixteen unique factors in landscape design studies. Furthermore, we found differences in distribution of factors when categorizing and comparing them by means of two conceptual frameworks. Moreover, the emphasis in peer-reviewed literature differs significantly from laypersons, which is challenging the current research agenda on landscape transformation and acceptance of renewable energy. The findings and the knowledge lacunas provide clear avenues for a shared research agenda. Future research needs to examine the influence of involving landscape designers on the acceptance of renewable energy projects and the effects of more inclusive design processes on factors such as trust.
The rapid expansion of solar and wind energy projects is raising questions of energy justice. Some scholars argue that solar and wind project development could burden under-resourced communities with negative impacts such as environmental harm and reduced access to resources. Conversely, other scholars argue that project development could be a boon to under-resourced communities, providing local economic and cultural benefits. Here, we analyze the drivers of solar and wind project siting patterns in the United States and explore their potential energy justice implications. We find that siting patterns are driven primarily by technoeconomic factors, especially resource quality and access to open undeveloped spaces. These technoeconomic factors channel projects into sparsely populated rural areas and, to a lesser extent, areas with lower income levels. We avoid simplifying assumptions about the broad justice implications of these siting patterns and explore our results from multiple perspectives.
This study applies Legal Framework Analysis to identify barriers and opportunities for a comprehensive legal infrastructure to enable agrivoltaics in the U.S. e State of Massachusetts is used as a case study to understand what elements of their regulatory regime contribute to their novel agrivoltaic policy program, while also considering the surrounding federal and local government dynamics in which this state program is embedded.
The case study shows that a comprehensive legal framework for agrivoltaics should arguably include a combination of federal and state energy financing mechanisms coupled with favorable state and local land use policies. Specifically, a state-level feed-in tariff and local government allowances for mixed land use between solar and agriculture will be the key features of an enabling legal framework.
The study revealed that grazing sheep on solar sites is a cost-effective method to control on-site vegetation and prevent panel shading. At no time in the growing season did vegetation shade the panels. Maintenance was less labor-intensive than traditional landscaping services and, thus, less expensive. The grazing trial at the Musgrave solar site was a full success for the site owners and operators, as well as the sheep farmer.
The aim of this study was to compare economic and agricultural benefits and challenges of traditional land management strategies (mowing, string trimming) with rotationally grazed sheep on solar sites. Sheep were grazed between May and November 2018 to obtain agronomic and economic data, as well as to gather knowledge of the feasibility of grazing sheep on solar sites.
This paper addresses the concern that despite the technical feasibility of renewable energy technologies and their contribution to climate-friendly power production, public opposition can be a hurdle for new installations of renewable energy installations, including agrivoltaic operations. This study assesses citizens’ perceptions of the Agrophotovoltaics (APV) technology by applying the Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) concept.
In the workshop conducted in this paper, citizens’ perception on APV before building the first pilot plant was investigated to analyze relevant aspects for the innovation process and its framework at an early stage of the technology development process. This paper describes the impact of APV on landscape, biodiversity, economy, and on the requirements for regulatory framework.
The purpose of this guide is to help Michigan communities meet the challenge of becoming solar- ready by addressing SES within their planning policies and zoning regulations. This document illustrates how various scales and configurations of photovoltaic SES fit into landscape patterns ranging between rural, suburban, and urban. This guide will aid in community development and guidance related to public policy decisions related to solar energy development, which often includes agrivoltaic operations and development as well.
This study includes discussion on key benefits, tensions, and paradigms influencing farmers and farming communities’ decisions to host utility-scale solar generation. The first goal of this study is to develop a conceptual map of stakeholder interaction(s) around utility-scale solar deployment on agricultural lands. The second goal includes the critique of agrivoltaic solutions that fail to consider stakeholder priorities as technological fixes.
Scientists and engineers have recommended agrivoltaics to solve conflicts between land use for energy versus agriculture. The study discusses and focuses on stakeholder perceptions and paradigms about using agricultural land, particularly prime farmland. The study covers the question of how does the existing context of energy and agricultural systems affect solar siting, and how are stakeholders interacting to coproduce decisions?
The results of this study provide a conceptual map of stakeholder interaction on solar development on agricultural lands and argues that agrivoltaics are currently treated as a “technological fix.”
This thesis lays the groundwork for the broader realization of agrivoltaics by identifying the socio-political opportunities and barriers to development. Combining theoretical frameworks on technology diffusion and social acceptance of renewable energy with expert perspectives, this work seeks to understand, address, and accommodate the role of society and policy in combining solar energy and food systems. Three empirical studies are presented that first investigate the impediments to farmer adoption of the technology, then explore the challenges to development from the perspective of solar industry professionals, and conclude by outlining a comprehensive legal framework for agrivoltaics in the U.S. The findings identify the key socio-political opportunities for agrivoltaics include: the retention of agricultural land and rural interests, and increased local level acceptance of solar development. The key barriers include: ensuring long term agricultural productivity is not compromised, and subnational localized zoning strategies.
This article examines prospective challenges and opportunities for scaling up negative emissions technologies (NETs) through examining how decarbonization practices are evolving in one particular landscape: the Imperial Valley in southeast California, a desert landscape engineered for industrial agriculture.
The contributions of this special issue address at least one political phenomenon in the context of sustainable energy transformation: populism, post-truth politics, and local resistance.