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Do Agrivoltaics Improve Public Support for Solar Photovoltaic Development? Survey Says: Yes!

Alexis S. Pascaris1, Chelsea Schelly, Mark Rouleau and Joshua Pearce

No efasx, SocArXiv from Center for Open Science

Abstract: Agrivoltaic systems allow for the simultaneous production of solar-generated electricity and agriculture. As the climate change related impacts of conventional energy and food production intensify, finding strategies to increase the deployment of solar photovoltaic systems, preserve agricultural land, and minimize competing land uses is urgent. Given the proven technical, economic, and environmental advantages provided by agrivoltaic systems, increased proliferation is anticipated, which necessitates accounting for the nuances of community resistance to solar development on farmland. Minimizing siting conflict and addressing agricultural communities’ concerns will be key in promoting public support for agrivoltaics, as localized acceptance of solar is a critical determinant of project success. This survey study assessed if public support for solar development increases when energy and agricultural production are combined in an agrivoltaic system. Results show that 81.8% of respondents would be more likely to support solar development in their community if it combined the production of both energy and agriculture. This increase in support for solar given the agrivoltaic approach highlights a development strategy that can improve local social acceptance and the deployment rate of solar photovoltaics. Survey respondents prefer agrivoltaic projects that a) are designed to provide economic opportunities for farmers and the local community b) are located on private property or existing agricultural land c) do not threaten local interests and d) ensure fair distribution of economic benefits. Proactively identifying what the public perceives as opportunities and concerns related to agrivoltaic development can help improve the design, business model, and siting of systems in the U.S.

Date: 2021-05-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-ene, nep-env and nep-ppm
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DOI: 10.31219/

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