The reality of the United States is that money, politics, and belief carries as much or more weight than science. Solar and wind power have to fight to gain a position at the table next to the fossils that have sustained society for recent generations.
In a recent poll, Politics & Global Warming, March 2018, conducted by the respective Climate Change Communication departments at Yale and George Mason University, 1.278 registered voters were asked a range of questions related to Climate Change, including a focus on renewable energy investment and solar power.
At its highest level, the research suggests 73% of voting America accepts the reality of climate change (95% among liberal Democrats, 88% – moderate Democrats, 68% – moderate Republicans, and 40% – conservative Republicans), and that 59% of these voters also accept that it is caused by human beings.
Not only that, but 63% are worried about it. But that worry only goes so far, and global warming was ranked as the 15th-most important voting issue.
There appears to be strong support to continue funding solar power in various ways, including via research, using public lands, tax rebates for those who purchase, regulation of CO2, and, to a lesser degree, forcing a 20% RPS on all utilities that costs $100/year.
This leads toward the next question of which source of energy should we be getting more of our energy from? And here, we see all of the fossil fuels fail spectacularly, while solar power gets broad political support. And even though nuclear power offers up 50% of the zero-carbon electricity in the United States, its popularity is below that of natural gas.
But here is the kicker. Even though these items are popular on their own, voters across the board put many others things higher when deciding what issues they prioritize, and this has an effect on who gets elected and what policies they pursue.
As a professional in the solar field, it is probably valuable to understand this juxtaposition. Most every client you speak with will have a positive opinion of solar power. However, whether they would make it a voting issue is a whole other story. So when you make your sales call, don’t assume why someone is going solar, ask them. You might be surprised.