Almost 80% of Americans have “positive overall impressions” of solar power, according to the results of a national consumer survey conducted by Colorado-based Navigant Research.

The firm claims this demonstrates a return to a level of favourability not enjoyed by the technology since 2009.

Navigant interviewed over 1,000 US adults in the winter of 2013, asking them to judge 10 key concepts in energy and the environment, with respondents ask to give answers as to the level of favourability of each. The firm has conducted the survey annually since 2009.

Along with solar, consumers were asked for their opinions on wind energy, nuclear power, hybrid vehicles, electric cars, natural gas vehicles, biofuels, smart grids, smart meters and LEED certification.

According to Navigant, 79% of Americans now have a favourable attitude to solar, a level of popularity not enjoyed since 2009, when a favourable view of solar energy was held by 81% of respondents. Wind followed closely with a favourability rating of 72%.

Clint Wheelock, Navigant Research managing director, said: “Solar energy is one of the most popular and least controversial green technologies in the eyes of consumers.”

Navigant claims that in the years 2009 to 2012, the favourability of solar, wind energy, hybrid vehicles and electric cars declined steadily in the way they were viewed by consumers, despite having been among the most popular when the survey began.

A white paper analysing the survey’s finds has been made available for download on the Navigant Research website. The white paper includes a breakdown of responses by demographic.