Solar Builder Magazine | Q2 2024 | Bring on the scrutiny

SB-magazine

The large-scale solar focus in this edition of Solar Builder got me thinking about the visibility of solar energy. From neighborhood rooftops to acres of green space, solar panels are SEEN in a way that no power source really has been — for better and worse.

Our cover story contextualizes the “worse.” Full disclosure: Not everyone involved in our “Solar is a battlefield,” article liked our tongue-in-cheek headline and image. Developers are not combatants; solar development is not a war. Point noted.

But obviously I stuck by it. As managing editor Bradley Kramer notes in that piece (p. 32), communities are in their feelings about solar, as the kids say. People are arguing hard against solar projects, and those arguments are making headlines. One of the Ohio communities referenced in that article just announced it will hold a second public hearing on the proposed solar project after “roughly 800 people packed a theater and public comments ran on for hours.” Even homeowners interested in going solar are worried that solar installers aren’t trustworthy (p. 14).

The “for better” of solar’s visibility, is how it forces the industry to be a bit more honest and transparent than its power production predecessors — industries that were able to lurk in mines and refineries in far flung outposts or communities with no political sway. They developed the modern world before television, let alone social media. The solar industry has its own out-of-sight, out-of-mind issues too — but these are being constantly scrutinized and debated.

I say bring on the scrutiny; bring on the debates. Our cover story explains what the solar industry can do to not just win debates, but also truly partner with previously skeptical communities. The rest of the issue is filled with articles focused on training the growing solar workforce (p. 38), improving product procurement (p. 48, 51), installing safer PV systems (p. 8), and for designing large-scale solar projects that will live up to production promises (p. 56).

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Cover Section

Solar is a battlefield

Large-scale solar projects have seen growing opposition from locals crying NIMBY — or Not In My Back Yard. However, there are some best practices that developers can follow to help circumvent these challenges and generate local support for their initiatives. Take a look at how developers can combat community pushback and misinformation to build long-lasting sola-relationships. | By Bradley Kramer


The Buzz

  • Safety school: Getting comfortable with PV Hazard Control Systems. By Chris Crowell
  • Shady solar: Changing the untrustworthy perception of solar installers. By Chris Crowell
  • GET up to speed with grid-enhancing tech: By Charles W. Thurston

Columns

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