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Community Insights at Your Fingertips

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A deep-dive into community sentiment for solar projects is now available with Transect’s Solar Pulse!

When it comes to solar projects, do the people hold the power? The answer: sometimes. 

Community opposition is a longstanding and frequent challenge to solar development. For years, we have seen communities across the country express concerns about everything from construction disruption to aesthetic issues and falling land values. While some of these concerns are understandable and can sometimes be mitigated, others can be based on misinformation that may be more difficult to overcome. Our research shows that community opposition to development is a theme that crosses the barriers of age, gender, and political affiliation.  

For developers, the impact of opposition on their projects can be formidable. A 2022 study reviewed 53 utility-scale renewable projects of various technologies that encountered community opposition between 2008 and 2021. Of those, 34% of projects faced significant delays and difficulties securing permits, while 49% were canceled permanently. Those delays and cancellations accounted for potential lost generating capacity of almost 4.6 GW. 

Unfortunately, many developers do not discover opposition exists until they are faced with it mid-development. By that point, they may have already invested heavily in development efforts, unaware of the roadblocks ahead. 

That’s why assessing community sentiment early in the development process provides developers with valuable information and choices: either avoid a community known to have a track record of negative sentiment or moratoriums in place, or pursue the project but tailor outreach strategies to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome. However, assessing community sentiment in advance is traditionally a manual process that is difficult, unreliable, and time consuming.

Transect’s Solar Pulse is now available as an optional feature of the Transect platform. It automates the process of identifying county-level community sentiment in seconds. It enables development teams to: 

  • Visualize county-by-county solar sentiment in a heatmap, with data for more than 20,000 solar projects and jurisdictions with moratoriums

  • Assess likely community acceptance of your solar project based on automated analyses of thousands of news articles

  • Review hundreds of solar moratoriums and ordinances with concise summaries and optional Expert Verifications

Solar Pulse - community sentiment

These insights allow developers to tailor their approach to support the needs of the community, propelling their project toward completion. Solar Pulse empowers developers to: 

  • Allocate resources more efficiently
  • De-risk development pipelines
  • Tailor outreach strategies to avoid potential roadblocks 

The decision to measure sentiment and work with the community may lead a project to take a course of action that yields higher savings for the developer and greater success for all.

Learn how Solar Pulse can help de-risk your next project. 


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