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Massachusetts Solar Survey

Miscellaneous
File(s): 
Solar Survey 2 Dec 13.pdf

PRINCETON RESEARCH ASSOCIATES

Massachusetts Public Opinion

70 Main Street, Princeton, MA 01541

Princetonresearchassociates.com

 

SOLAR SURVEY 2

N=500 super voters

Margin of error +/-5%

Field Dates: Dec 5-9, 2013

 

1. Generally speaking, how concerned are you about the cost of electricity?

 

 

June 13

Dec 9

1. Very                 

36%

39%

2. Somewhat

43%

46%

3. Not very

7%

5%

4. Not at all

12%

8%

5. DK/ref                             

2%

2%

                               

2. How important is the solar power industry to the Massachusetts economy?

 

 

June 13

Dec 9

1. Very                 

27%

40%

2. Somewhat

30%

27%

3. Not very

21%

17%

4. Not at all

9%

8%

5. DK/ref             

11%

8%

                               

3. Do you know anyone who works in the renewable energy industry – as a researcher, installer, electrician, manufacturer, or other job?

 

 

June 13

Dec 9

1. Yes   

12%

17%

2. No

68%

65%

3. Not sure

20%

18%

 

4. Do you have solar panels at your home or place of residence? 

 

 

June 13

Dec 9

1. Yes   

5%

9%

2. No

95%

91%

 

5. How about your city or town, has it installed solar systems at schools, public buildings or landfill sites? 

 

 

June 13

Dec 9

1. Yes   

48%

32%

2. No

29%

35%

3. Not sure

13%

33%

5. DK/ref             

10%

0%

               

 

IF YES:

6. How would you describe the benefits to your city or town in terms of tax revenue, energy savings or land use?  Are they very significant, somewhat significant, not very significant or not significant at all?

 

1. Very significant           

16%

Very + Somewhat

57%

2. Somewhat significant

41%

 

 

3. Not very significant

21%

Not Very or Not Significant

40%

4. Not significant at all

19%

 

 

5. Don’t know                   

3%

 

 

 

7. When considering the cost of solar power in comparison to other resources, such as oil and gas, is the cost of generating solar energy more expensive, less expensive or about the same cost of these fuels?

 

 

June 13

Dec 9

1. More expensive         

16%

15%

2. Less expensive

34%

39%

3. About the same

40%

35%

4. DK/ref                             

10%

11%

                               

8. Now I’m going to read you two statements people have made about who benefits from government support for solar power systems and see which one you agree with most? (READ & ROTATE)

 

STATEMENT 1

The only people who benefit from tax credits and other subsidies for solar power systems are those who can afford to install these systems in their homes or businesses.

 

STATEMENT 2

Everyone benefits from tax credits and other subsidies for solar power systems because, as solar power becomes more widely available, it will reduce everyone’s energy costs.

 

1. Those who can afford

26%

2. Everyone

42%

3. Neither

21%

4. Don’t Know                  

12%

 

Recently, Gov Patrick quadrupled the state’s solar power generation goal. Some folks think requiring utilities to provide that much solar power will increase electric rates significantly. Others say that in the long term it will bring electric rates down as well as create economic development benefits that come with clean energy.

9. How strongly do you support Gov Patrick decision to quadruple the state’s solar power generation goal from 400 MW to 1600 MW, which is the equivalent of one large fossil fuel plant?  

 

1. Very strongly support               

33%

Very + Somewhat support 

59%

2. Somewhat strongly support               

26%

 

 

3. Somewhat strongly oppose

14%

Very + Somewhat oppose

32%

4. Very strongly oppose               

18%

 

 

5. Don’t know                   

9%

 

 

 

10. How much have you heard about solar power systems receiving credits for putting extra power back on the grid, a policy known as net metering?

 

Net metering is a state policy to help homeowners, schools, communities and businesses adopt solar energy. It allows solar energy systems to receive a financial credit for their extra power, which they can sell back to the utility at the same rate.  

 

1. Quite a bit

26%

2. Some               

28%

3. Not much

30%

4. Nothing          

12%

5. Don’t know

4%

 

11. Given what you know about net metering, how strongly do you support it? Would that be…

 

1. Very strongly support               

27%

Very + Somewhat support 

54%

2. Somewhat strongly support               

27%

 

 

3. Somewhat strongly oppose

13%

Very + Somewhat oppose

22%

4. Very strongly oppose               

9%

 

 

5. Don’t know                   

24%

 

 

 

12. The cap on how many solar energy systems can use net metering has almost been reached, how strongly would you support increasing the cap? Would that be…

 

1. Very strongly support               

35%

Very + Somewhat support 

59%

2. Somewhat strongly support               

24%

 

 

3. Somewhat strongly oppose

10%

Very + Somewhat oppose

20%

4. Very strongly oppose               

10%

 

 

5. Don’t know                   

21%

 

 

 

13. The State has a goal of 1600 MW of solar energy by 2020. Solar energy supporters want to set the net metering cap to 1600 MW as well. Would you support or oppose raising the MA cap to 1600 MW and would that be…

 

1. Very strongly support               

28%

Very + Somewhat support 

55%

2. Somewhat strongly support               

27%

 

 

3. Somewhat strongly oppose

11%

Very + Somewhat oppose

22%

4. Very strongly oppose               

11%

 

 

5. Don’t know                   

23%

 

 

 

Utilities are concerned about net metering. Energy bills have two parts, the cost of energy and the cost to distribute the energy over the electric grid, which includes the poles, wires, and maintenance.

 

The utilities say that solar energy systems pay little or no distribution costs to the utilities but the utilities are still required to provide energy to solar systems at night or as back up. Utilities argue that net metering, which is used by consumers with incomes high enough to purchase a solar energy system, will result in higher distribution costs for non solar system users especially urban consumers.

 

Solar providers say their own personal investments as well as town and city investments produce additional electricity when and where it’s needed most. Excess solar power is resold by the utility to nearby energy customers and thereby saves the utilities from costly peak power generation and avoids costly transmission grid upgrades, which, in turn, lowers costs for all customers.

 

14. Now that you have heard both sides, let me again ask you again how strongly would you support expanded net metering in Massachusetts?

 

1. Very strongly support               

25%

Very + Somewhat support 

55%

2. Somewhat strongly support               

30%

 

 

3. Somewhat strongly oppose

10%

Very + Somewhat oppose

23%

4. Very strongly oppose               

13%

 

 

5. Don’t know                   

23%

 

 

 

DEMOGRAPHICS

15. Are you or is anyone in your immediate family a member of a labor union or teacher’s union?

 

1. Yes, self only

12%

2. Yes, family member only

16%

3. Yes, both self and family member

9%

4. No

64%

 

16. How would you describe yourself politically: Are you liberal, moderate, or conservative?  (IF LIBERAL/CONSERVATIVE ASK: "Is that very liberal/conservative or just somewhat?")

 

1. Very liberal   

17%

2. Somewhat liberal

20%

3. Moderate      

28%

4. Somewhat conservative

17%

5. Very conservative

13%

6. Don’t know   

5%

 

17. With which ethnic group do you identify yourself: White or European, Black or African-American, Hispanic or Latino, Asian or Pacific Islander, or some other ethnic or racial background?

 

1. Hispanic/Latino

3%

2. White

70%

3. Black/African-American

8%

4. Asian/Pacific Islander

2%

5. OTHER

8%

6. Don’t know   

9%

               

18. Which age category best describes you?       

 

1. 35 and under

19%

2. 36-45     

21%

3. 46-55   

22%

4. 56-65

19%

5. Over 65

19%

               

 

 

19. Education

 

1. Less than high school

2%

2. High School or GED

13%

3. Some college

23%

4. Bachelor’s Degree     

26%

5. Graduate Degree

35%

 

20. Which of the following ranges best describes your annual household income, is it:

 

1. Less than $10,000

6%

2. Between $10,000 and $24,999

9%

3. Between $25,000 and $49,999

17%

4. Between $50,000 and $99,999

29%

5. Between $100,000 and $149,999

11%

6. Between $150,000 and $199,999

4%

7. $200,000 or more

6%

8. Refused

17%

 

21. GENDER: (ASK ONLY IF NECESSARY)

 

1. Male

48%

2. Female

52%

 

22. REGISTRATION:

 

1. D                       

32%

2. R

11%

3. U

51%

 

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