It’s not often in the United States that something can generate widespread, near unanimous support, and even less likely for it to completely ignore political party lines. According to a recent poll, solar power is currently enjoying that kind of popular appeal.
The poll was conducted by the Elmsford, N.Y.-based glass manufacturer, SCHOTT Solar. It found that 89 percent of Americans think it is important for the United States to develop and use solar power. Almost as many support a level playing field for solar power to compete with entrenched sources of power, such as oil, natural gas and coal. Specifically, 80 percent said they support federal tax credits and grants for the solar industry similar to those that these traditional sources of energy have received for decades. It is no small percentage, considering the current political hot potato of government spending.
Also, when asked to select an energy source they would financially support if they were in charge of U.S. energy policy, more (39 percent) chose solar than any other source. The next closest source of power was natural gas, which 21 percent of the respondents said they would fund.
Speaking of politics, solar also seems to be basking in an unlikely glow of bipartisan support. For example, 90 percent of Independents, 80 percent of Republicans and 94 percent of Democrats agree that the United States should develop solar power. Despite the strong support nationwide, widespread adoption of solar still faces a formidable challenge. Nearly half of the survey respondents cited cost as their biggest concern about solar power. SCHOTT interprets this as a need for the industry to educate consumers about their options and the decreasing costs of the technology.