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Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4117; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114117 (registering DOI)

Surveying the Solar Power Gap: Assessing the Spatial Distribution of Emerging Photovoltaic Solar Adoption in the State of Georgia, U.S.A.

1
Social Energy Atlas, Department of English, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
2
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
3
Social Energy Atlas, Institute for Artificial Intelligence, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 October 2018 / Revised: 4 November 2018 / Accepted: 6 November 2018 / Published: 9 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue International Perspectives on Sustainable Energy Transition)
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Abstract

Despite a global push in the development and implementation of widespread alternative energy use, significant disparities exist across given nation-states. These disparities reflect both technical and economic factors, as well as the social, political, and ecological gaps between how communities see energy development and national/global policy goals. Known as the “local-national gap”, many nations struggle with fostering meaningful conversations about the role of alternative energy technologies within communities. Mitigation of this problem first requires understanding the distribution of existing alternative energy technologies at the local level of policymaking. To address the limitation of existing adoption trend analysis at the scale of local governance (e.g., county governments), this paper demonstrates a novel method for contextualizing solar technology adoption by using the State of Georgia in the United States as an exemplar. Leveraging existing work on the Gini Coefficient as a metric for measuring energy inequity, we argue these tools can be applied to analyze where gaps exist in ongoing solar adoption trends. As we demonstrate, communities that adopt solar tend to be concentrated in a few counties, indicating existing conversations are limited to a circumscribed set of social networks. This information and the model we demonstrate can enable focused qualitative analyses of existing solar trends, not only among high-adoption areas but within communities where little to no adoption has occurred. View Full-Text
Keywords: technology adoption; Lorenz curves; Gini coefficient; local-national gap; Georgia; NIMBY; solar energy; community development; soft cost reduction technology adoption; Lorenz curves; Gini coefficient; local-national gap; Georgia; NIMBY; solar energy; community development; soft cost reduction
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Tidwell, J.H.; Tidwell, A.; Nelson, S. Surveying the Solar Power Gap: Assessing the Spatial Distribution of Emerging Photovoltaic Solar Adoption in the State of Georgia, U.S.A.. Sustainability 2018, 10, 4117.

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