Fully 79 percent of U.S. residents now support solar energy, according to the latest consumer Energy and Environment Consumer Survey from Navigant Research. The survey found that of 10 clean energy choices or concepts solar was the most popular, by far more popular than nuclear technologies, which were seen as favorable by only 32 percent of respondents. In fact, only 6 percent of respondents saw solar as an unfavorable technology.
“Solar energy is one of the most popular and least controversial green technologies in the eyes of consumers,” says Clint Wheelock, managing director with Navigant Research. “But it is followed closely by wind energy, which gained a favorable response from 72 percent of Americans.”
Navigant has conducted the survey since 2009, in an effort to gauge how the population sees clean energy and energy efficiency technologies and ideas. The areas covered in the survey are: solar, wind and nuclear power; hybrid, electric and natural gas vehicles; smart grids and meters; biofuels and LEED certification. “In general, consumer favorability with clean energy, as well as other environmental topics, increased with education level and income,” Navigant stated in a white paper about the survey.
Solar was most popular in the first year of the survey, according to Navigant, when 81 percent of respondents viewed the technology favorably. Its popularity fell over the next two years, but saaw the steepest decline in popularity in 2012, when only 69 percent (still an overwhelming majority) found solar power either favorable or very favorable.
The company also observed that the favorability of alternative-fueled and hybrid vehicles rose across all categories surveyed. Support was highest for hybrid vehicles at 67 percent favorability ratings in the survey. That’s up from 54 percent in 2012.
Overall, the average favorability rating for the 10 concepts rose to 51 percent. “The highest level seen in Navigant Research’s survey since 2010,” the company said.
“Consumers were the least familiar with LEED certification; nearly three-fourths of respondents reported that they were not familiar with or neutral on the concept,” according to the white paper. Only 16 percent of the 1,089 adults surveyed in the third quarter of 2013 were either not familiar with or had neutral opinions of solar energy, while 20 percent had a similar response to wind energy.
Navigant made the white paper available as a free download here: Navigant Research.Tweet