Community Planning for Solar: Conducting a Community Solar Survey

Alison Bates, Sara Farrar (NREL Technical Monitor)

Research output: NRELSubcontract Report


This guide is designed to assist community officials, volunteers, and regional planning agency staff in conducting a survey of residents to learn about attitudes and development preferences towards solar energy within the community. The guide will provide the key steps, timelines, distribution options, ethics, and considerations that should be made in developing a survey distribution strategy. The guide also contains an overview of various question types and response categories, with considerations for the type of data that are needed for the study. The guide concludes with recommendations for managing data and databases, data visualization, and reporting results. The appendix includes samples of materials used in a solar energy survey, from invitation letters to the survey. This document is intended to provide a practical guide for implementing a survey in communities that are proactively planning for solar development. The guide offers a practical “how-to” plan for conducting a survey. It may be advantageous to consult with an expert in survey development who will be familiar with any methods and techniques described in this guide, but this is not necessary. This guide offers basic considerations and examples of questions and analyses to help a community understand preferences of the community.
Original languageAmerican English
PublisherNational Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
Number of pages36
StatePublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Work performed by Colby College, Waterville, Maine

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/SR-7A40-90089


  • action plan
  • clean energy extension
  • community
  • community planning
  • education
  • financing
  • Massachusetts
  • municipalities
  • outreach
  • ownership
  • PV siting
  • rural
  • SEIN
  • siting
  • solar photovoltaics
  • toolkit
  • UMass


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