Evaluating the contribution of PV to social, economic and environmental aspects of community renewable energy projects

For the purpose of the sustainability assessment of distributed renewable energy resources it is desirable to better understand the social, economic and environmental impacts (SEE) resulting from their deployment. Often only one, or at most two, of these knowledge domains is considered, partly due to the difficulty of devising an integrated assessment methodology. An approach based on probabilistic graphical models (PGM), has been developed which helps address this problem. Data for several UK urban census areas have been systematically collected and processed in order to furnish a PGM with the probabilistic data required in order to simultaneously make inferences about the SEE impacts of domestic solar PV, deployed to high penetrations. Results show that an integrated probabilistic assessment contributes to transdisciplinary knowledge, providing decision makers with a tool to facilitate deliberative and systematic evidence-based policy making incorporating diverse stakeholder perspectives.