Recycling Land for Solar Energy Development

A growing number of cities and counties are committed to becoming more environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. However, many of these communities face pressing economic challenges that frustrate efforts to make progress toward sustainability goals. Those that have suffered decades of population and job losses, as well as those especially hard hit by the Great Recession, are struggling with high numbers of vacant properties, be they former industrial sites, abandoned houses, or shuttered strip retail. While many of these properties will eventually find new life through reoccupancy or conventional redevelopment, alternative reuse options may be the best current — if not the only — solution for a glut of brownfields, greyfields, and redfields (see Glossary). One of the most promising of these alternative reuse options is solar energy development, and planners can play a crucial role in helping their communities evaluate and embrace solar energy for vacant land management.



This is one in a series of briefing papers providing planners with guidance on promoting solar energy use in their communities to help meet local energy and sustainability goals. APA produced this paper through its participation in the SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership (SolarOPs), a U.S. Department of Energyfunded
initiative designed to help accelerate solar energy adoption on the local level by providing timely and actionable information to local governments.

Please visit our website at to learn more about this series and APA’s participation in SolarOps.


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