Americans Want Solar to Replace Fossil Fuels

Almost 80 percent of American consumers favor solar as their renewable energy champ, but 71 percent also have much love for wind power too.

That’s the major takeaway from Navigant Research‘s annual consumer survey, which in fall 2013 averaged 1,000 respondents’ favorability towards “clean energy, clean transportation, smart grid, and building efficiency.” With interesting timing, Navigant’s poll results hit the presses this week alongside the IPCC’s terrifying tale of two futures. That apocalyptic report warned that further dirty fuel consumption and investment will doom the world to planetary dystopia, while utopian renewables like solar and wind can save us, right now, from obsolete infrastructures and unsustainable habits.

The IPCC practically demanded an international pivot to renewables, which is no problem because “solar energy is one of the most popular and least controversial green technologies in the eyes of consumers,” Navigant managing director Clint Wheelock explained in a statement.

What Wheelock didn’t say but seems apparent is that previous declines in interest in alternative energy solutions from Americans over the last few years have predictably rebounded as our so-called natural gas boom has proven to be a climate change bust. This also explains why Navigant’s survey found that 67 percent of Americans favored hybrids and 61 percent favored electric cars, while only 54 percent were into natural gas vehicles.

Since the turn of the 21st century, development and deployment of solar power has predictably tracked alongside dirty fuel supplies and global warming concerns. The more depressing return-on-investment metrics for dirty fuels, like natural gas and worse, are increasingly crunched by scientists and industrialists, the more solar and wind become our obvious go-to renewable energy replacements, in turn attracting interest, accruing investment, cratering costs, sparking innovations and erasing stigmas.

Navigant’s new solar approval normal is still below 2009, when 81 percent of respondents favored it as the leader to replace coal, oil and gas. But it would be folly to bet on that number going down, going forward.

This article appeared at Solar Energy

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