When Energy Issues Are Land Use Issues: Estimating Preferences for Utility-Scale Solar Energy Siting

Vasundhara Gaur, Corey Lang, Gregory Howard and Ruth Quainoo


Although solar energy receives broad support in general, utility-scale solar arrays can be contentious because at the siting stage, it becomes a land use issue replete with potential disamenities and trade-offs. We conduct a choice experiment survey to estimate preferences for attributes of utility-scale solar arrays in Rhode Island, United States. Our results suggest that the largest indicator of solar development approval is prior land use, with residents willing to pay an additional $10–$21 in monthly utility bills for developments in commercial, industrial, brownfield, and covered landfill areas, and $13–$49 to avoid developments on farm and forest land.

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