Planners can play an important role by initiating and facilitating community conversations about solar energy. These conversations may be in the context of formal visioning or goal-setting exercises; alternately, questions or concerns about solar energy may rise spontaneously in response to specific development proposals. Planners should also be aware of common public concerns and misconceptions about solar energy and be able to provide correct and current information in response. Further, they can help raise local awareness about solar energy by helping to create and distribute information materials, such as brochures and website content, and by providing opportunities for public education, including forums and workshops. And planners should know which stakeholders and local experts should be involved in the process. This briefing paper will show how planners can initiate a community conversation about solar energy, respond to common solar myths and misconceptions, and better engage and educate community members about solar energy systems.
About the Authors
Ann Dillemuth, AICP
Ann Dillemuth, AICP, joined the American Planning Association in 2007 as a Research Associate with the Planning Advisory Service (PAS). She edits the PAS Reports series and the bimonthly publications PAS Memo and PAS QuickNotes, and she serves as the lead staff reviewer for the AICP Exam Application review process. In addition, she has assisted with a number of APA's sponsored research projects on topics such as hazard mitigation, complete streets, wind and solar energy, and food systems planning. She holds a BA in Biology from Williams College and a Master's degree in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University.