In the fourth consecutive Schott Solar Barometer survey, conducted by Kelton Research on behalf of Schott Solar, US-based respondents expressed a significant support for the use and development of solar energy and federal investments for solar. According to Kelton, nine out of 10 Americans, or 89%, responded that they felt it was important for the US to develop and use solar energy. Breaking the results down by political party, 80% of Republicans, 90% of Independents and 94% of Democrats, agreed for furthering solar in the US.
Additionally, Kelton reported that more than eight out of 10, or 82%, of Americans supported tax credits and grants for the solar industry that would mirror those already offered to more traditional forms of energy like oil, natural gas and coal. Americans also support US-based solar manufacturing with 82% of respondents saying that federal backing of US solar manufacturing is “important”.
“In this tough economy, Americans want to see solutions coming from Washington,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “For members of Congress trying to find ways to create jobs, solar is a win-win. Thanks in part to proven policy successes like the 1603 Treasury Program, the solar industry has doubled its workforce in the last two years and now employs more than 100,000 Americans at 5,000 businesses spanning every state. And solar enjoys overwhelming support across all political affiliations – Republicans, Democrats and Independents. It’s clear that solar has the strong support of the American people. Now it needs the support of U.S. policymakers in extending job-creating policies like the 1603 program to make sure solar continues to work for America.”
The survey concluded that respondents were eager to choose solar if they were in charge of US energy policy with 39% choosing solar over other sources such as natural gas, wind, nuclear and coal. Furthermore, 51% of Americans stated that they would be more apt to buy a product if they knew it was made using solar energy.
The 2011 Kelton survey did find that one of the challenges the solar industry continues to face is that of educating the public on becoming consumers of solar energy. While many companies are now offering solar leasing modules, not to mention that the cost of solar modules has decreased by 30% since the beginning of 2010, Americans still voiced the cost of solar energy as their main concern.
“The fourth annual Solar Barometer shows that Americans overwhelmingly understand the benefits and continue to support solar energy for our country,” said Tom Hecht, president of sales, marketing and business development with Schott Solar PV. “What I find especially encouraging is that eight out of ten people support American solar manufacturing. A growing domestic solar industry will create more jobs and make solar more attractive as a clean energy source. Prices for solar continue to decline and those who currently own solar systems are earning a strong return on their investment.”