Perceptions of Large-Scale Solar Project Neighbors: Results From a National Survey

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Driven by favorable economics, policy factors, and decarbonization goals, large-scale solar (LSS, defined here as ground-mounted photovoltaic projects ≥1 MWDC) has expanded rapidly in recent years, with more than 90 gigawatts (GW) now installed across the United States. Growth in LSS deployment is anticipated to accelerate in response to growing electricity demand and utility, state, and federal decarbonization goals. This continued expansion hinges, in part, on the continued support of local residents and decision-makers in communities hosting LSS projects. Understanding the perceptions and attitudes of existing LSS neighbors is critical to inform and enable future LSS deployment, and to improve outcomes for those host communities.
As of 2022, there were more than 10 million U.S. homes within 3 miles of LSS plants. Yet, until recently, no comprehensive study had examined the experiences and perceptions of these LSS neighbors. In 2023, a Berkeley Lab team worked with the University of Michigan and Michigan State University to conduct the first-of-its-kind nationally representative survey of LSS neighbors as part of the Community-Centered Solar Development research project. The survey effort ultimately collected 984 responses from residents within 3 miles of existing LSS projects. 
The survey results are available for download via the full summary analysis slide deck report, as well as a shorter (~4 page) summary brief. The survey instrument (questionnaire) is also available for download for those interested in understanding the survey design or replicating questions in future research. 

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A brief overview of this study can be read here


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