Solar power is as American as apple pie and the freedoms associated with some of the fundamental ideas that were developed in this country. Recent research has suggested that one of the reasons solar power is so popular is due to it being able to offer very important, fundamental items to a broad set of people across the country. How many other mandates can get 2/3 of America to approve them?
Pew Research surveyed 3,627 people between October 1 and 13, 2019. The results (PDF) showed that 92% of Americans were in favor of expanding solar panels farms, and 8% were in opposition. This value increased by 3% – roughly 10 million people – from two surveys earlier in 2019, after holding pretty steady around 89% starting at least in 2016 and 2018.
Solar power, with its 92% value, had the highest answer rate of any other climate, energy or environmental action in the poll. Expanding wind farms also polled very highly at 85%, and the nation’s largest CO2 free electricity source, nuclear power, followed with a split at 49%. Both of these energy sources have increased their public opinion since a May poll earlier this year – with wind up 2% and nuclear up 6%.
When asked separately, in a randomized manner, what one action ought we do to address American’s energy supply – developer alternatives or expand fossils – 77% of people said the former, 22% supported the latter. Meaning there are a subset of that 22% who are strongly for expanding wind and solar, but not necessarily to hand the keys over – maybe batteries could grab some more of these folks?
The country was roughly split three ways when asked about whether they thought government policies to limit climate change’s effects would help, hurt or have no effect either way on the economy. One might argue that 2/3 of the country would be ok with sensible climate actions when consider only the economics.
41 percent of respondents thought that the United States was feeling the effects of climate change “a great deal”, 35% feeling “some”, and 15% feeling not too much. Only 8% of Americans see no climate change effects in the country.
For those who thought climate change was affecting their local community – heat waves, flooding, animal welfare and habitats were most on their minds.
As politicians jockey for position in the upcoming 2020 elections, the Solar Job Census showing us solar jobs across the nation and polling from Pew above might give us insight into how the ITC extension and expansion might move through Washington DC.