The University of Rhode Island Studies Citizen Sentiment on Where to Place Large Solar Facilities

Every community approaches their path to 100% renewables from a different perspective.  The University of Rhode Island (“URI”) is aiding communities by helping them assess public opinion on “solar siting” (the process of finding where to place solar panels for power generation) for larger projects.


Key Takeaways:

  • The URI study was funded by a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Participants are assembled in groups (with a maximum of eight people) for a 90-minute session
  • The project is three years long, and should represent some of the much-needed public input on the topic of regarding solar land use


Path to 100% Perspective:

As more and more large-scale solar projects are approved, more land will be occupied by solar farms thus, policies of where to build solar plants may negatively impact the very public which voted their approval.  The URI has taken a statistical approach to help communities by developing surveys which, in turn, create guiding questions for a community to consider when tackling issues surrounding solar project placement.  URI researchers have done this by working with focus groups on topics such as: maximizing space, the NIMBY (“Not In My Back Yard”) factor, and how to creatively make use of existing structures.  Read the full story on The Westerly Sun entitled “URI researchers prepare for survey on solar siting preferences.”