Majority Of Solar Power Customers Support Subsidies, Says Research

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Market research into the attitudes of US and Canadian residential solar customers conducted by E Source produced a number of key insights. Perhaps the most striking was that 80% of the survey respondents said policy makers should encourage solar panel installation through the use of subsidies.

g_solar_powerSolar power support was the greatest in Western states, with about 85% saying they are for solar power with subsidies. In the South, about 81% said they also support solar power subsidies. There was almost no difference in this support of subsidies for solar power between income levels. It was not surprising that the group which identified itself with an environmental bent had the highest percentage who said they supported subsidies for solar at 88%. This figure was 79% for the most cost-conscious of the respondents.

Due to these consistent levels of support for solar power subsidies, the efforts to block them made by some utilities could tarnish their image with consumers.

One might see why some of them would try to resist solar power – mainly because owners of their own solar power systems could generate some or all of their own electricity and therefore would no longer be completely dependent on utilities.

In fact, the survey inquired how it would be for the respondents if they paid nothing for the electricity to a utility company. Almost 70% said if would be acceptable for customers to have no monthly utility payment. For the respondents who were 18-24 years of age, about 82% of them were in favor of paying nothing. For the customers who identified as Environmental or Technical, about 77% said the same thing. The lowest percentage in favor of a zero dollars paid to a utility were those 65 years old and older.

One of the big questions related to how to manage the increasing number of solar power installations is how much owners should be paid for the excess electricity they generate and send to the grid. Of those surveyed, 18% said the home owners should be paid less than the retail cost of electricity. The ability to generate some income – although probably a small one – would be another incentive encouraging the adoption of solar power.

These kinds of survey results are important because they provide insights into how people perceive solar power and what their levels of enthusiasm are for it. There is some misinformation floating around that is anti-solar, which deliberately tries to mislead readers into believing that solar power is unpopular or unaffordable. Neither of these views is accurate, however.

Image Credit: Steve JurvetsonCreative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

CleanTechnica Holiday Wish Book

Holiday Wish Book Cover

Click to download.

Our Latest EVObsession Video

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.

Jake Richardson

Hello, I have been writing online for some time, and enjoy the outdoors. If you like, you can follow me on Twitter:

Jake Richardson has 1008 posts and counting. See all posts by Jake Richardson

7 thoughts on “Majority Of Solar Power Customers Support Subsidies, Says Research

  • The question about paying nothing to the utility is weird. Logically, you can only support this for grid-connected households if you think that electricity should be provided as a free public service financed by taxation, like roads or schools or British health care. This is radical socialism – so radical that I can’t offhand think of a single European left-wing party that proposes it, including the Trotskyite candidates for the French presidency.

    • Electricity too cheap to meter was the (right-wing?) nuclear promise after all 😉

    • The question is more amid at billing. Some area’s of the US charge a certain amount to connect to the grid then charge or pay based on usage. Other have a min usage requirement so no mater how little power you use you will still pay for X amount of power and the third method is net billing were you pay based on the amount of power you use. In the case of net billing if you solar panels produce enough power you could get a zero dollar billing or even the utils end up owing you a few bucks.

      Most utilities use to be net billing or min billing but more and more are tiring to add a grid connect fee in as well. Part of the reason for this is there is more and more regulations allow for people to add work to the grid but not have to pay anything because they built a solar array larger then needed to just power there house.
      So the question about a zero dollar bill is more about people who produce more power then they use should they still get a bill. I wouldn’t call that socialism myself.

      Personally I favor a grid connect fee and variable rate billing so if everyone is getting billed at 25.0 cents a killo watt you should get paid at 24.something cents for the power you are putting in. If there is over production and the current costs for people buying is only 4 cents then that is what you should get. In theory it is more fair. Breaking production from distribution does that. If the power company just became a broker to buy needed power and maintain the local lines it would allow for a much smarter grid.

  • This is a silly survey. Of course people that may want to put solar on their house would like others to pay for it (a subsidy). That doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do.

  • this just in:
    the majority of banks support bailouts
    the majority of bill writers prefer that congresspeople “pass it to see what’s in it”
    the majority of gold diggers want naive desperate pathetic men with lots of money
    the majority of U.S. muslims surveyed want the option of being judged by Sharia law (oh wait that’s gonna cause some cognitive dissonance on these boards)

    • Even as a joke, you should not gave written the last sentence without supplying a link to evidence that it might be true.

Comments are closed.