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Community solar initiatives in the United States of America: comparisons with – and lessons for – the UK and other European countries

Peters, M., Fudge, S., High-Pippert, A., Carragher, V. and Hoffman, S. M. (2018) Community solar initiatives in the United States of America: comparisons with – and lessons for – the UK and other European countries. Energy Policy, 121. pp. 355-364. ISSN 0301-4215

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2018.06.022

Abstract/Summary

Solar energy systems that are increasingly economic with regard to their design, delivery and operating costs, hold the potential to contribute considerably to a nation’s energy mix. While solar generation comes in many forms, ‘shared solar’, or a community-based system with an array size intermediate between a large-field and an individual residential system, offers many advantages that utility-scale projects are not able to deliver. The aim of this paper is to examine the development of shared solar initiatives in the recent history of US energy policy in order to reveal lessons that could be applied to future renewable energy generation in other developed nations including the UK and other European countries. Specifically the paper offers original appraisal of the ‘solar gardens’ scheme being trialled in Minnesota, drawing on findings from a survey with over 650 respondents representing a range of local renewable energy organizations and their customers. We examine the salience and influence of four key factors, namely: (i) perceived individual benefits; (ii) sources and trustworthiness of information; (iii) location; and (iv) project financing. Taken together the findings contribute understanding on the potential for community solar projects to assist in the transition towards a more sustainable and resilient energy future.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of the Built Environment > Construction Management and Engineering > Transition Pathways to a Low-Carbon Economy
ID Code:78607
Publisher:Elsevier

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