Agriculture and Solar Energy Development in Massachusetts: Potential Conflicts and Synergies
Abstract: This research explores conflicts and synergies between preserving farmland and scaling up solar development in Massachusetts. As solar technology and farming require similar inputs, it is prudent to consider ways that solar can aid farms' success. This work strives to understand whether agriculture and solar are compatible; to identify potential conflicts; and to develop a model for quan... read moretifying land available for solar development. Using snowball sampling to select sixteen experts—farmers, solar developers, and other stakeholders—I conducted semi-structured interviews from which several themes emerged: solar is a means of farm diversification; many farmers feel favorably about solar on farmland; the lack of rural electrical infrastructure and the seasonal constraints unique to farming are primary obstacles to expanding solar to farms; and solar companies exhibit varying capacities to work with farms. This study begins to fill the gaps in knowledge surrounding the intersection of Massachusetts' agricultural and solar energy sectors.
Thesis (M.A.)--Tufts University, 2018.
Submitted to the Dept. of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning.
Advisor: Barbara Parmenter.
Committee: Timothy Griffin.
Keywords: Land use planning, Agriculture economics, and Energy.read less