Solar

Americans support solar despite Solyndra bankruptcy: New survey

The 2011 SCHOTT Solar Barometer, a national US survey, shows that consumer support for solar power was not seriously damaged by the Solyndra bankruptcy, but consumers still need education about solar installation costs.

November 2, 2011 — The 2011 SCHOTT Solar Barometer, a national US survey conducted by Kelton Research (independent polling agency) results show that solar energy development and federal incentives for solar are popular across the political spectrum in the US.

For the fourth consecutive year, about 9 out of 10 Americans (89%) surveyed think the US should develop and use solar energy. By political affiliation: 80% of Republicans, 90% of Independents, and 94% of Democrats.

This is down 5% from 2010’s poll results, wherein 94% of Americans voiced support for solar (the largest drop-off is in positive Republican respondents). The percentages were 92% in 2009 and 94% in 2008.

82% of Americans want federal incentives for solar, such as federal tax credits and grants similar to those that traditional sources of energy like oil, natural gas and coal have received for decades. By political affiliation: 71% of Republicans, 82% of Independents, and 87% of Democrats.

The pollers asked participants to select an energy source they would support if they led US energy policies. 39% chose solar, 21% natural gas, 12% wind, 9% nuclear, and 3% coal. 16% said they did not think the government should invest in energy sources.

Solar is a “win-win” for Washington’s job creation push, said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. Resch points to successful programs like the 1603 Treasury Program, which helped the solar industry double its workforce in the last 2 years. The solar industry in the US employs more than 100,000 Americans at 5,000 businesses spanning every state, Resch said.

SEIA notes that the survey respondents support solar despite heavily-subsidized solar panel maker Solyndra’s recent bankruptcy. Despite this failure, 8 out of 10 (82%) respondents think the federal government should support US solar manufacturing; 51% of Independent voters called this ?extremely important.?

Solar supprt extends to consumer choices, with the majority of respondents saying they’d choose a product manufactured in a solar-powered factory.

Solar energy consumption is still hindered by cost — 48% of Americans cited cost as their biggest concern with choosing solar energy. SEIA calls this an education issue, with solar panel prices dropping and solar leasing options becoming more widely available. Reliability is the other big concern. Other issues — aesthetics, uncertainty over the benefit — were negligible.

The survey results are available in detail at http://seia.us/sERklb

The Solar Energy Industries Association is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Internet: www.seia.org.

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