Shining a light on solar energy: Harnessing artificial intelligence to measure its social impact

When we think of protests for new energy systems, our minds first turn to fossil fuels. Solar PV rarely does (PV) Arrays come to mind.

But the truth is that solar energy is polarizing, plain and simple. Public opinion varies widely on their value, and even more widely on whether they want to set up large-scale solar farms in their backyard.

Whether viewed as unfortunate or fortunate, community sentiment has a major influence in determining whether a project comes to fruition. This effect can lead to delays and bottlenecks that developers may find difficult to overcome.

But this does not mean that solar proponents are powerless. By taking public sentiment into account before starting to build their site (which requires an initial understanding of where a particular community stands), developers can make more progress, more often.

Community sentiment: two sides of each currency

When a developer presents a solar proposal to a community, it is natural for opinion to differ among affected residents.

Resistance to solar installations in rural areas does not come solely from an aversion to renewable energy technologies. Fears of noise pollution Solar power station Fires (as seen in New York), land encroachment, and environmental impacts are at the forefront of the resistance to solar generation conversation.

Despite their small size, such collections are still a specialty risk.

A clear and present danger to energy Objectives

In recent years, the Biden administration has set some lofty energy transition and sustainability goals for the coming decades, and so far, we don’t seem likely to achieve them.

Of course, communities have good reasons to protest development. For example, he says Brookings“The sparsely populated, sunny areas of San Bernardino County could be ideal for solar energy development. However, locals say such projects disturb the pristine, scenic desert.” Views, wildlife habitat. The ban eliminates more than 1 million acres of private land from development.

This perspective is not unreasonable, but when it conflicts with California’s requirement to convert 60% of electricity generation to renewable sources by 2030, it poses a dilemma.

Of course, not all societies are opposed. In fact, some advocate the development of renewable energy.

Those who live in poor communities, areas close to coal-fired power plants, or live in environmentally vulnerable places are more likely to favor solar energy. This in turn affects how likely a positive solar policy is to pass.

So, when the community isn’t already engaged, how can you stir up emotions more positive?

Methodology for engaging communities in Renewable energy

There are several ways to reduce opposition to solar energy development.

The first is to choose areas that people are unlikely to object to where possible. For example, he says Brookings“Building on previously disturbed land and combining renewable energy with other land uses, such as agriculture or building solar on rooftops, can reduce land use.” Conflicts.”

second, According to Twitter mining study“States that want public support for solar may want to consider implementing consumer-friendly net metering policies and support the growth of solar businesses.”

Third, an inclusive conversation can make a big impact the difference.

If you do not make an effort to engage directly with communities, unfortunately they will likely get most of their information from public interest groups, which do not necessarily have the interests of the environment in mind (or the interests of the community in question).

Solar developers can communicate with cities about the importance of solar development. Cities that promote solar energy on their official government websites can help convince their residents of the importance of renewable energy projects using a variety of arguments: among them environmental protection, public health, and cost savings.

He adds that messages to underserved communities are particularly clear to divide energy: “Low-income households spend 8.6% of their income on energy costs, or three times as much as non-low-income households. For households at or below 100% of the federal poverty level, the average energy burden is 16%, or nearly From 1/6 of the family income.

Overcome uncertainty with The clip

Community Feelings layer

One of the biggest barriers to solar projects, other than negative community sentiment, is simply not knowing what those sentiments are He is. This puts developers in a position to move forward with the project decision-making and planning processes without See if they run into roadblocks later.

Fortunately, Transect is in beta testing new layers to help overcome this barrier. The tool analyzes news forums and existing solar fields to assess community sentiment regarding renewable development in their area, and generates a report in just minutes.

the Artificial intelligence based solar sentiment The algorithm can create a picture of how a particular community might feel about a project even before it starts. This allows developers to avoid certain areas or make plans to engage communities early, rather than spending money on future mitigation efforts and becoming a case study on how not to integrate utility-scale solar into a community.

This, combined with automated ecological site assessment provided through Transect Reports in minutes, allows land developers to evaluate their sites with each ecosystem and impact in mind.

Takeaway? Solar developers and stakeholders will no longer be stuck wondering and hoping that their project will not lead to any negative social impacts. There is a solution today.

keep in touch With the Transect team or visit Transect website To learn more.

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