Distributed solar generation (DSG) has been growing over the previous years because of its numerous advantages of being sustainable, flexible, reliable, and increasingly affordable. DSG is a broad and multidisciplinary research field because it relates to various fields in engineering, social sciences, economics, public policy, and others. Developing a holistic understanding of the state of research related to DSG can be difficult. Motivated to provide that understanding, the goal of this paper is to explore current and emerging multidisciplinary research trends associated with DSG. To achieve that, (1) a large data set of approximately 66,000 publications was collected; (2) the papers were labeled using keywords for topics including "Batteries and Storage,""Solar,""Complex Modeling,""Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI),""Resilience, Vulnerability, and Disasters,""Policies and Incentives,""Social Aspects,""Economics,""Smart Grid,""Finance,""Social Equity,""Microgrid,"and "Virtual Power Plant"; and (3) the data set was analyzed using scientometric and social network analysis (SNA) in respect to publication counts, citation counts, and interconnectivity between the topics. Notable findings were analyzed to describe current and emerging trends. It was found that social equity has high citation counts contrasted by few publications, indicating a possible strong need for research. There is also rapidly growing research in ML and AI in the context of DSG during recent years. Other research topics, such as smart grids, have been attracting fewer publications. The results also highlight the need for multidisciplinary research connecting the topics. To conclude, future research is suggested to explore research needs in the areas of social aspects, social justice and equity, public policy and incentives, and ML/AI. The findings should benefit researchers and stakeholders with a holistic understanding of multidisciplinary DSG-related research and provide insight for planning new research and funding opportunities.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1943-555X; 1076-0342

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2024 American Society of Civil Engineers, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Mar 2024