Solar energy is getting the positive attention and widespread acceptance it deserves. A recent study from Rasmussen Reports (a comprehensive public opinion poll) showed that 44% of Americans believe in investing in solar for their home. According to the survey, nearly one out of three adults (31%) say they are at least somewhat likely to use solar power in their homes in the next five years, including 13% who say they are very likely to do so. Interestingly, the survey also found that 55% of voters believe finding new sources of energy is more important than reducing the amount of energy Americans now consume. Also notable, is the age of those who are willing to forge a solar path. Supporters in the 18 to 40 age brackets feel solar energy will become a standard method of powering their homes. Moreover, those in this younger age group are also roughly twice as likely to say they are very likely to use solar power in their homes in the next five years.
The survey also made it clear that there is still the misconception that solar is financially out of reach for the mainstream. For example, 25% of those making more than $100,000 per year said they are very likely to install solar power at home in the next five years, compared to only 6 percent of those making between $20,000 and $40,000 per year.
There also seems to be a perception that the payback needs to be faster (in the three to five year range), before solar technology is widely adopted by the mainstream. It will be fantastic when prices get down to that level, but when looked at honestly, anything less than a twenty year simple payback provides a good investment. But, the great news is that the average payback for a residential solar PV system is about seven to nine years. However, for the sake of making a point, a solar system that provides a twenty year simple payback is like buying a solar bond that pays 5% (tax-free) interest year after year without ANY risk.
Think of it as buying your own dividend-paying utility company, but one with a long operating history and no competition. Current tax credits and utility rebates cover up to 70% of the total cost of the solar PV system. Also, there are financing programs (or call 1-800-SUNPOWER) to help southern Arizona’s homeowners make the switch to clean energy.
It is nice to see evidence that American support for solar energy is continuing its upward swing. This new survey provides credible proof of the positive trend among the American people, in considering the switch from coal to clean energy from the sun.