Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental and Energy Policy (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Social Sciences

Advisor 1

Chelsea Schelly

Committee Member 1

Joshua Pearce

Committee Member 2

Richelle Winkler


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 thesis can inform agrivoltaic decision making, solar development practices, land use management, and policy making in a way that supports the furtherance of the renewable energy transition, conserves arable land, and utilizes innovative solar photovoltaic technologies.

Included in

Energy Policy Commons