Naspetti, Simona, Serena Mandolesi, and Raffaele Zanoli (2016). Using visual Q sorting to determine the impact of photovoltaic applications on the landscape. Land Use Policy, 57, 564–573.

Abstract: In recent years, some European countries have experienced rapid growth of installation of photovoltaic systems. These systems can involve relevant, and in some cases quite radical, transformations of the landscape, especially in rural areas, and long-term impact on land use. In Italy, this installation of photovoltaic systems has raised concerns over the impact on the landscape and on land use. Visual Q methodology is particularly suited for the assessment of such perceived impact of photovoltaic systems. A selection (concourse) of landscape images with photovoltaic elements was collected and used during this Q-sort analysis. The final Q sample included 54 images of various photovoltaic plants in urban and rural settings. The P set was composed of 34 participants, including landscape and photovoltaic professionals. This analysis identified three distinctive factors that are representative of the different viewpoints on the integration of photovoltaic systems within the urban and rural landscapes. We conclude with a discussion of the wider land-use policy implications of this analysis.

Raffaele Zanoli <zanoli> is in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences at Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy and was the local host for the 2015 Q conference in Ancona.