Environmental Studies Program



Corie Gleason

Date of this Version



Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2023


Copyright 2023, Corie Gleason


This thematic analysis was completed in Nebraska, as it looked at how the state’s rural communities react to solar energy projects. Due to their strong sense of social and community identity, members of rural communities are often resistant to change and may have difficulty supporting new projects such as solar farms in their communities. However, these rural communities provide the necessary space for solar farms while still being in close proximity to the users of the energy that the farms produce. This study aims to explore what factors have made past solar projects successful and the ways in which those factors can be applied to future solar projects to promote success. A thematic analysis of local news sources’ reactions to projects was done in an attempt to seek out these factors. It was found that members of these rural communities were more supportive when (1) there was a plan to save them money and ensure that money was put back into the community, (2) the solar energy was coming from local sources and was able to be ensured without compromising other development, (3) they were given the option to choose whether to be a part of the program or not, and (4) measures were put into place to ensure that property values and aesthetics were not compromised.