Chloe Soltis

MLA I

The Ecological Pulse of Electric Flows: Enriching Georgia’s Solar Landscape

Advised by Jill Desimini

This thesis explores the dissonance between the creation of solar landscapes and the disconnected conditions they produce. In the United States, tech corporations are the largest purchasers of renewable energy—they buy energy credits generated by remote solar sites in order to claim their data centers are “powered by 100 percent renewable energy.” The companies morally and monetarily benefit from these claims while the solar sites’ conditions are anything but ecological. 

The project proposes new logics, practices, and metrics that can be used to equitably transform post-agricultural landscapes into grounded photovoltaic solar sites. It rejects the current standard of surrounding the space with screenings and the sacrificial paradigm associated with infrastructural landscapes. Instead, this thesis imagines a reality where landscape architects design solar sites to be visible manifestations of corporate accountability, community connection, and ecological restoration. This new design standard ensures that both human and nonhuman stakeholders benefit from the space. 

Color drawing of a cross-section of a garden plot showing root structure below and foliage abd blossoms above. Another color drawing of bird’s-eye-view of a farm field transected by planted rows, rows of solar panels, and railways for carts.