Two recent polls confirm that the public in the U.S. wants more solar power and renewable energy. One, released March 30 by Gallup, found that solar and wind are more popular than nuclear. The other released yesterday (April 7) by Clean Edge and SolarCity found that overwhelmingly the public in the country wants more solar and wants to see clean energy incentives continue. The polls come as the major federal incentives supporting solar, the Investment Tax Credit, and wind, the Production Tax Credit, are set for reduction or expiration and extension of them are facing a hostile Congress.
Gallup’s annual Environmental poll was conducted from March 5 to March 8. It found that wind and solar were more popular than other energy sources in the U.S. including nuclear and natural gas. “Solar power is the most popular energy source on this question, with 79 percent of Americans saying the country should put more emphasis on it. Wind power is close behind at 70 percent,” the Gallup poll stated. “Americans are the least likely to want more emphasis on coal,” it added.
The Gallup poll also found that though support of natural gas-based power is still high, it has fallen. “Since 2013, support for ‘more emphasis’ on natural gas production has dropped 10 percentage points and there has been a five-point drop in the percentage who want more emphasis on oil, possibly reflecting that the U.S. is producing more of these two commodities than in 2013. There has been no meaningful change in support for expanding solar power or wind as part of a national energy strategy; the same is true for nuclear and coal energy,” it stated. A slight majority, 51 percent, of people in the country want more nuclear energy, falling from 57 percent in 2011 and 2012.
The Clean Edge/SolarCity poll, “U.S. Homeowners on Clean Energy: A National Survey” was conducted by Zogby. It focussed on whether or not the public in the U.S. supports solar, wind and renewable energy. Overwhelmingly, they do.
"There's a misconception that the nation is divided on its attitudes toward clean energy, but our research shows this to be false," Clean Edge managing director and report lead author Ron Pernick said. “There is broad support for renewables across the political spectrum. Opposition to solar fees charged by utilities, for example, is higher among Republicans (66 percent) than Democrats (53 percent).”
Overall, “Nearly nine in ten Americans (87 percent) [are] saying renewable energy is important to the country’s future. When homeowners were asked to pick which specific energy sources were most important to the nation’s future, solar (50 percent) and wind (42 percent) led the pack, followed by natural gas (33 percent) and energy efficiency (25 percent),” Clean Edge said.
The report also delved into whether the public supported incentives for renewable energy. “Seventy-four percent of Americans polled favored continuing federal tax incentives that support the growth of the solar and wind industries, including 82 percent of Democrats, two thirds of Republicans (67 percent) and 72 percent of Independents,” Clean Edge stated.
That report also found that saving money on energy bills was the top motivator people to purchase clean energy, like a solar installation, services, like energy efficiency upgrades. LED lightbulbs were the most likely energy saving purchase people were likely to make in the coming year, for instance.Tweet