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National Solar Survey 2011


Solar Power a Favorite Source of Energy among Americans

According to a new survey conducted by Kelton Research on behalf of SCHOTT Solar and the Solar Energy Industries Association™ (SEIA™), if Americans were in charge of the country’s energy policy, solar once again1 tops the list of energy sources that they would choose to support. In fact, a majority of Americans believe that the government should give federal subsidies to solar energy, similar to those currently awarded to traditional sources of energy. And many would be more likely to buy a product if they knew it was made using solar energy.

  • Strong Support for Solar Energy. An overwhelming majority of Americans think it’s important for the U.S. to develop and use solar power. This has been consistent over the last four years (89) percent in 2011; 94 percent in 2010; 92 percent in 2009 and 94 percent in 2008) the survey has been conducted.

  • Ninety-four percent of Democrats think it’s imperative for the United States to advance and utilize solar power, compared to 90 percent of Independents and 80 percent of Republicans.
  • Solar is Top Energy Choice. Americans would choose to provide financial support to solar energy (39%) more so than any other energy source if they were in charge of the United States Energy Policy.

  • More Americans ages 18-44 than those 45 years and older (43% vs. 35%) would financially back solar energy if they were responsible of United States energy policy.
  • More Americans who identify as Democrats than those who are Republicans (43% vs. 26%) would give monetary support to solar energy if they were in charge of the country’s energy plan.

After-Thoughts: That’s more than those who would consider backing more traditional energy sources, such as natural gas (21%), nuclear (9%) or coal (3%).

Support for Solar Manufacturing

  • In fact, more than eight in ten (82%) Americans believe it’s vital that the federal government should support U.S. solar manufacturing right now.
  • Eighty-six percent of Americans ages 18-44 think it is essential that the U.S. government support solar manufacturing in the states sooner than later, compared to 77 percent of Americans 45+.
  • And 51 percent of Americans who identify as Independent believe it’s extremely important for the government to fund solar manufacturing in our country, compared to 43 percent of Democrats and 31 percent of Republicans.

Funding for Subsidies

  • Perhaps understanding the importance of giving solar power more government attention is why a majority (82%) of Americans are more likely to support federal subsidies, such as tax credits and grants, for solar energy that are currently given to other sources of power, such as coal and oil.
  • Eighty-seven percent of Democrats would grant subsidies for solar energy that is currently awarded to traditional sources of energy, compared to 82 percent of Independents and 71 percent of Republicans.
  • Solar Influences Shoppers. Americans believe so much in the power and sustainability of solar energy that over half (51%) would be more likely to buy something knowing that it was made using solar energy.

  • More Americans who identify as Independent than those who are Republicans (56% vs. 39%) would be more likely to buy an item that was made with solar energy.
  • Over three in five (61%) Americans 18-44 years old would be motivated to buy something that they knew was made using solar energy, compared to 40 percent of those 45+.
  • Similarly, more parents than non-parents (57% vs. 49%) would be inclined to purchase an item knowing it was created out of solar energy.

Lacking Concern: Perhaps this is why 14 percent of Americans wouldn’t have any concerns about adopting solar energy.
Important Matters to Address

  • However, as with any innovative alternative that’s different from the norm, there are some valid concerns. Of those Americans with concerns, cost (55%) is the biggest issue more than reliability (29%), uncertainty about the benefits of this resource (11%) or aesthetics (4%).

The Schott Solar Power Surveys were conducted by Kelton Research between September 29th and October 6th, 2011, September 27th and October 4th, 2010, August 31st and September 8th, 2009, and May 29th and June 2nd, 2008 among at least 1,000 nationally representative Americans ages 18 and over every year.

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