Societal Impacts, Techniques, and Research

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Leveraging Campus Landscapes for Public Health: A Pilot Study to Understand the Psychological Effects of Urban Sheep Grazing on College Campuses

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.
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Genetic Algorithms-Based Optimum PV Site Selection Minimizing Visual Disturbance

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.
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Technoecologies of Solar Commoning: Activating the Immanent Potentials of Solar Infrastructure, Practices and Affect

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.
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To support or oppose renewable energy projects? A systematic literature review on the factors influencing landscape design and social acceptance

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.