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Published on November 2nd, 2011 | by Andrew


90% of Americans Support Solar Power, Industry Development; So What’s Up with Congress?

November 2nd, 2011 by  

Infographic courtesy of SCHOTT N.A.

A nationwide poll conducted by Kelton Research showed that just shy of 9 out of 10 Americans (89 percent) think it’s important for the United States to develop and use solar energy. Breaking the results out along voting lines, 80 percent of Republicans, 90 percent of Independents and 94 percent of Democrats agreed with the above. This is the fourth straight year Kelton’s survey results showed nearly 90% of Americans support developing solar energy.

Results also showed that Americans support federal incentives to do so. More than eight of ten (82 percent) support federal tax credits and grants for the solar industry, just like those that continue to benefit companies in the all too well established oil & gas and coal industries. Seventy-one percent of Republicans, 82 percent of Independents and 87 percent of Democrats responding to the poll agreed.

Thirty-nine percent of respondents said they would choose to financially support solar energy over other energy sources such as natural gas (21 percent), wind (12 percent), nuclear (nine percent), and coal (three percent). Solar energy is more than twice as popular as any other energy source among Independents – 43 percent vs. 20 percent for natural gas.

Moreover, support for solar energy remains strong despite all the recent media and Congressional attention devoted to the bankruptcy of Solyndra, Kelton found.

Eight out of ten (82 percent) of Americans think it’s important for the federal government to support US solar manufacturing, and a majority of Independent voters (51 percent) think it’s “extremely important.”

The American economy has evolved into one built on consumption, and Kelton found that 51 percent of Americans would be more likely to purchase a product if they knew that it was made using solar power. At 61 percent, consumers in the key 18-44 year old age group were even more likely to do so.

A Win-Win Situation

Solar leasing programs are making big strides in educating consumers and making it more affordable to buy solar power, but cost, along with consumer education, remain the biggest hurdles. Forty-eight percent of Americans cited costs as their biggest concern with purchasing a solar energy system despite the cost of solar panels dropping 30 percent since the beginning of 2010 and the introduction of solar leasing programs.

“In this tough economy, Americans want to see solutions coming from Washington,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “For members of Congress trying to find ways to create jobs, solar is a win-win.

“Thanks in part to proven policy successes like the 1603 Treasury Program, the solar industry has doubled its workforce in the last two years and now employs more than 100,000 Americans at 5,000 businesses spanning every state. And solar enjoys overwhelming support across all political affiliations – Republicans, Democrats and Independents.

“It’s clear that solar has the strong support of the American people. Now it needs the support of U.S. policymakers in extending job-creating policies like the 1603 program to make sure solar continues to work for America.”

So What’s Up in Washington, D.C.?

Kelton’s poll results, which are included in the 2011 SCHOTT Solar Barometer released yesterday, clearly indicate the breadth and strength of support for developing solar power across the US populace.

So what’s up with the elected leaders of our national government in Congress? Why is it that opposition to instituting longer lasting solar industry support and incentives, such as investment and production tax credits and the Treasury 1603 program, continues in the face of such broad public support?

The answers aren’t pretty, particularly as to its reflection on state of the American democratic republic. They’re a cause for ever more widespread cynicism, which has been defined as ‘spiritual death.’ A direct, causal link between the answers and the growing “Occupy,” or “The Other 99%” movement may also be inferred.

They’re yet another sign that our elected representatives are bought and paid for by corporate and external organizational and institutional interests.

We elect them based on their campaign promises, records and backgrounds, but it’s clear that US elected representatives, once ensconced in their offices and in Washington D.C., don’t believe it’s necessary to respond to the will of the broad public even when it is so unified. Other influences apparently prompt them to act otherwise.

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About the Author

I've been reporting and writing on a wide range of topics at the nexus of economics, technology, ecology/environment and society for some five years now. Whether in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas, Africa or the Middle East, issues related to these broad topical areas pose tremendous opportunities, as well as challenges, and define the quality of our lives, as well as our relationship to the natural environment.

  • Solar Panel Support

    The solar panel support can be used to support solar panels on virtually any roofing system – from flat roofs to roofs sloped up to 2 in 12. Seismic and High-Wind applications are available for the system.

  • Pingback: 8 Top Resources for Installing Solar in 2012 | CleanTechnica()

  • The real cost of the OIL!! How do US get our oil from countries like Iraq and Libya?
    How much does it cost to base our Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines in the Middle East to ensure to have an uninterrupted flow as we mainline 20 million barrels a day of black gold into our veins?If you figure the annual cost of US military into the $3.50 a gallon (or more) you pay at the pump, the price of gas is close to $10 dollars a gallon.Your $500 million in subsidies for solar is chump change compared to the $800 billion we spent in Iraq and the $1.2 trillion a year we spend to ensure the safe flow of oil with our “defense” department.
    Care to demonstrate how the use of oil and US military spending is sustainable when all of the money eventually goes up in smoke and out the tailpipe? …The huge cost of the “Fight against the terrorism” because the oil reason as well. The huge amount of money to clean (each year) the sea because of the oil ships or because of the huge disasters like BP!!!…

    USA…Wake up!!!!

  • Pingback: Clean Tech News Briefs November 3, 2011 | EarthTechling()

  • Temo945

    They do not want to loose the $$$ being given by big oil to pretend we do not want it.

    • Anonymous

      Tea Party Republicans control the House of Representatives and enough votes in the Senate to block legislation.

      The Tea Party has been supported by coal interests from its inception. At the moment Tea Party Representatives are having trouble raising campaign funds for next year’s election. That makes them even more dependent on fossil fuel money.

      We need to be careful to distinguish between those in Congress who work to block renewable energy and those who work to promote it.

      We do ourselves no favor by tarring all with the brush of oil and coal. Let’s quit talking about Congress as a single entity and start talking about those Congress members who wear white hats and those who wear carbon-black hats.

  • euroflycars

    The primary cause of political betrayal of voters’ consensus about PV is inherent to PV technology itself, as it is more likely than any other to foster feasibility of individual energy autarcy — notably when coupled with individual hydrogen generators for storage of estival excess and compensation of diurnal deficit.

    • Anonymous

      Rick Perry, it that you?

      Geeze, man, you’ve got to quit mixing the pain pills with booze….

  • Anonymous

    90% of Americans support solar, so what’s up with Congress? Here’s a clue, Oil Industry, Too big to fail Banks, and Insurance companies, and last, but certainly not least, Defense Contractors!

  • Anonymous

    How about we differentiate between those Congress Members who do work to improve America and those who are intentionally trying to harm America?

    Let’s not lump Al Frankin, Barney Franks and the other good folks in with the Tea Party Republicans.

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