Tracking the sun: exposing India’s solar dispossessions

Ryan Stock, Trevor Birkenholtz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Utility-scale solar development in India has dispossessed peasants of land and livelihoods. Smallholders alienated from land have not been equitably remunerated, rehabilitated, nor offered employment at new solar parks. Yet it remains unclear which modalities of dispossession are used across solar sites. Drawing on mixed methods fieldwork from the Gujarat Solar Park and the Kurnool Solar Park, this study advances research on the processes of land dispossession by examining the following research questions: 1) Which constellation of actors and institutions facilitate land dispossession for solar development in India; 2) Through which modalities do these actors and institutions conduct solar-induced land dispossessions? We find actors and institutions behind solar park development in India function as agents of dispossession. Wielding coercive inscription devices that include land acquisition laws, wasteland categorizations and iterative titling, they seize peasant land in service of private and financial firms to underwrite the rollout of large-scale solar interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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