Solar continues to be the most popular form of electricity generation, as verified by a new survey by Pew Research. This study also found that while Americans continue to love solar, that a large number of homeowners have considered installing solar PV.
Pew conducted its Politics of Climate survey in May and June, which found that 89% of Americans support building more large solar plants, with only 9% opposing. This was the strongest support among the six forms of energy extraction and generation that respondents gave opinions on, beating out even wind farms which had an 83% support rating.
A majority of Americans (52-57%) opposed expanding the other energy sources, including offshore drilling, nuclear power plants, fracking and coal mining.
The survey also found that 40% of homeowners nationwide have given “serious thought” to installing solar PV, with another 4% stating that they had already installed a PV system, although the latter number is higher than is suggested by national deployment statistics.
Interest in residential solar was highest in the West, with 52% of homeowners stating that they had seriously considered installing PV, and another 14% claiming that they had – which again is higher than industry data. Interest was lowest in the South, with only 35% giving serious thought to or installing solar, slightly less than the Northeast at 40% and the Midwest at 42%.
In this second quarter of this year 55% of American residences were occupied by owners and their families, and another 32% by renters, with vacant and seasonal homes making up the rest.
Pew also looked at the motivations for installing solar, finding that 90% of those who considered or installed solar were motivated by saving money, and 87% stating that they were motivated by helping the environment. The federal Investment Tax Credit was another big motivator, with 60% associating their interest with the credit.
The U.S. residential solar market has grown every quarter during this decade, with over 2 GW installed in 2015 alone. However, the portion of U.S. homes with solar PV is still lower than other nations including Australia.