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

Vasundhara Gaur, Corey Lang, Gregory Howard and Ruth Quainoo


While 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 tradeoffs. We conduct a choice experiment survey to estimate preferences for attributes of utility-scale solar arrays in Rhode Island, USA. Our results suggest 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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