Department of Social Sciences
Solar photovoltaic (PV) energy technology can play a key role in decreasing the amount of carbon emissions associated with electrical energy production, while also providing an economically justifiable alternative to fossil fuel production. Solar energy technology is also extremely flexible in terms of the size and siting of technological development. Large scale PV farms, however, require access to large tracts of land, which can create community-scale conflict over siting solar energy development projects. While previous scholarship offers frameworks for understanding the mechanisms at play in socio-technological system transitions, including the renewable energy transition, those frameworks fail to center community priorities, values, and concerns, and therefore often do not provide an effective means of addressing community conflict over solar siting. This paper provides a conceptual exploration of how a proposed framework can guide decision making for solar development across multiple scales and settings, while also illuminating the potential barriers and bottlenecks that may limit the potential of solar energy development to occur in scales and forms that receive community acceptance and at the pace necessary to address the greenhouse gas emissions currently contributing to the rapidly changing global climate.
Applying a relationally and socially embedded decision framework to solar photovoltaic adoption: A conceptual exploration.
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