October 11, 2010 (Los Angeles) - On the eve of Solar Power International, North America's largest solar energy trade show, a new national poll shows that the vast majority of Americans overwhelmingly support development and funding of solar energy, and their support for solar has remained consistent over the last three years. These and other findings were reported today in the 2010 SCHOTT Solar Barometer(TM), a nationally representative survey conducted by independent polling firm Kelton Research.
The survey found that 94 percent of Americans think it is important for the U.S. to develop and use solar energy. This strong support for solar remains unchanged since Americans were asked the same questions in the August 2009 SCHOTT Solar Barometer (92 percent) and June 2008 SCHOTT Solar Barometer (94 percent). (The difference is within the margin of error for these polls.)
This support for solar power is consistent across political party affiliation with 92 percent of Republicans, 98 percent of Democrats and 94 percent of Independents agreeing that it is important for the U.S. to develop and use solar power.
Furthermore, four out of five (80 percent of) Americans feel that Congress should reallocate federal subsidies away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy industries. Broken down by party affiliation, 86% of Democrats, 69% of Republicans and 81% of Independents feel this way.
Americans understand the urgency of growing the solar industry themselves; nearly half (49 percent) of Americans currently considering solar power options for their home or business plan to make a decision in less than one year.
"For the third consecutive year, the SCHOTT Solar Barometer highlights American's wide and growing support for solar energy," said Dr. Gerald Fine, President and CEO of SCHOTT North America. "We're dedicated to delivering clean reliable energy and have created hundreds of green jobs manufacturing solar products here in the U.S. These findings show that the vast majority of Americans share our goal of promoting and growing the new green industry in the U.S."
"The message from the public is very clear - WE WANT MORE SOLAR ENERGY! According to this poll, solar energy is more popular than puppy dogs or ice cream. It is time for policymakers to listen to their constituents and enact measures to rapidly increase our use of solar," said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. "As we debate many crucial social and economic issues during this midterm election, lawmakers should consider solar, not as an issue, but as an industry they can count on to create jobs, improve U.S. competitiveness, bolster our national security and reduce harmful pollution. It's time for Congress to see what most Americans already see; that solar is working for America today."
When asked to choose one energy source to financially support if they were President, 45 percent of Americans would opt for solar over other sources such as wind (19 percent), natural gas (12 percent), nuclear (12 percent) and coal (2 percent).
Americans also understand the growing impact the solar industry is having on the U.S. economy and job creation. More than half (51 percent) of Americans said they would choose a job in the solar industry if they were to start working in the renewable energy sector. This was more than wind (20 percent), geothermal (9 percent), biofuels (9 percent) or hydropower (8 percent).
Nearly half (49 percent) of Americans indicated they would be willing to pay more for solar energy. In fact, the cost of solar is already on par with traditional fossil fuel options in several markets, and continues to drop as the industry scales up.
About the Survey's Methodology
The SCHOTT Solar Barometer Survey was conducted by Kelton Research between September 27 and October 4, 2010 using an email invitation and an online survey. SCHOTT Solar, one of the trend-setting manufacturers of solar energy technologies, and the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) commissioned the survey. Quotas are set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total U.S. population ages 18 and over. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.
High-resolution photographs of solar installations and technology can be downloaded to accompany this release at www.schott-pictures.net.
About SCHOTT Solar:
SCHOTT Solar, with its high quality products, enables the potential of the sun as a nearly inexhaustible source of energy to be utilized. SCHOTT Solar produces important components for photovoltaic applications and solar energy power plants. In the production of receivers for solar power plants, SCHOTT Solar sees itself as a market and technology leader. Receivers from SCHOTT Solar are key components in large-scale power plants that generate electricity from solar energy centrally on the basis of parabolic trough technology and are able to supply entire cities with power. SCHOTT Solar has production facilities in the USA, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Spain. The innovative power and technological competence of the company date back to the late 1950s. SCHOTT Solar is a wholly owned subsidiary of the international SCHOTT group. SCHOTT develops special materials, components and systems for the household appliance, pharmaceutical, solar energy, electronics, optical and automotive industries. With approximately 17,000 employees producing worldwide sales of approximately $3 billion. In North America, SCHOTT's holding company SCHOTT Corporation and its subsidiary SCHOTT North America, Inc. and their affiliates employ about 3,000 people in 14 production operations with 6 sales offices.
Established in 1974, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA is working to build a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to make solar a mainstream and significant energy source by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. www.seia.org