Still in love with solar energy? Installation size, affect, and the social acceptance of renewable energy technologies

Item Type Journal paper
Abstract Solar and wind energy are expected to play a key role in creating a climate-neutral Europe by 2050 and decarbonizing energy production in general, albeit requiring significant deployment. This presupposes that the population accepts such energy sources, thus necessitates understanding how people perceive energy systems. Unlike the abundant literature about wind energy, social acceptance of solar energy has received less attention, especially concerning large solar installations. Opinion polls indicate that solar energy enjoys a high level of socio-political acceptance and is preferred to other renewables, although it is unclear whether this acceptance persists as the technology is deployed on a large scale. This paper helps close this gap by describing the results of a representative survey (n = 601) conducted using a between-subject design to examine how attitudes of the public towards solar energy vary based on the size of installations, how the latter compare to attitudes towards wind energy, and what the role of affect is in the former. Results reveal that the stronger preference for solar power decreases to a similar level as that for wind energy when comparing installation of similar sizes, highlighting that solar energy installations may not easily be scaled up. The study also shows that affect plays an important role in forming people’s attitudes towards wind and solar, especially concerning large-scale installations. This underlines the need for policymakers and project developers, who aim to deploy renewables on a large scale, to attend to the affective component of decision-making.
Authors Cousse, Julia
Journal or Publication Title Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Language English
Subjects social sciences
political science
Refereed Yes
Date 2 May 2021
Publisher Pergamon
Volume 145
Number 111107
ISSN 1364-0321
Publisher DOI
Official URL
Depositing User Julia Cousse
Date Deposited 28 May 2021 10:52
Last Modified 20 Jul 2022 17:45


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Cousse, Julia (2021) Still in love with solar energy? Installation size, affect, and the social acceptance of renewable energy technologies. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 145 (111107). ISSN 1364-0321

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