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Is Solar Energy Widely Accepted by the Public?

February 24, 2021

Recent polls and surveys reveal the strength of public support for the expansion of solar power and clean renewable energy. In concert with the majority of Americans, businesses are embracing solar energy as well.

The groundswell of public and corporate support for solar power continues to grow. Across the U.S., regardless of affiliations, a wide majority has for years supported and continues to favor solar power. Recent polls and surveys reveal the strength of public support for the expansion of solar power and clean renewable energy. In Gallup’s latest poll 80% of the nation thinks there should be more emphasis on solar power. This same poll shows that support for fossil fuels, especially coal and oil, ranks low. In a Spring 2020 survey by the Pew Research Center 79% of American adults prioritize developing alternative energy, compared to 20% who prioritize fossil fuels.

A January 2020 study by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication shows the majority of Americans in support of clean energy policies that can reduce carbon pollution. The study demonstrated broad support among Democrats and Republicans, with 72% of registered voters supporting moving the U.S. economy “from fossil fuels to 100% clean energy by 2050.”  Two-thirds of those surveyed also support the elimination of all pollution created by oil, natural gas, and coal producers by 2050.

In this context, it’s no surprise that voters elected Joe Biden on a climate platform with a goal of reaching 100 % clean electricity by 2034. His win swept in voters from the swing states and signals a significant opportunity for the solar industry whose technology is essential to achieving the president’s goal.

Solar power represents the largest percentage of new generating capacity of any energy resource in 2020 for the second year in a row. Solar accounts for 43% of all new electricity generating capacity added in the U.S. through the third quarter 2020.

In concert with the majority of Americans, businesses are embracing solar energy. Public corporations and private enterprises are making major investments in solar energy in record numbers to save money on power generation. Two thirds of all corporate solar capacity was installed since 2015.

Topping the business list is Apple with 393 MW of installed solar capacity, followed by Amazon with nearly 330 MW and Target with about 240 MW. Apple plans to reach net-zero emissions across its entire supply chain by 2030. Microsoft plans to become “carbon negative” (removing more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits) by 2030. Google plans to run the entire business on carbon-free energy 24/7 by 2030. In September 2020, Google announced that it had used offsets to eliminate its operational carbon footprint for the entire history of the company.

Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, plans to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and Unilever, another consumer giant, plans to be net zero by 2039.  Bloomberg is on track to reach 100 percent renewable energy before 2025. Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies said, “As the price of wind and solar continue falling, it’s increasingly cheaper to power our company with clean energy than with fossil fuels.” The chief of BlackRock, the world’s largest investment firm, told other worldwide corporate leaders, “to disclose a plan for how their business model will be compatible with a net-zero economy” in his 2021 annual letter.

Community solar is the fastest-growing segment within the solar industry because it expands access to solar for all, including low-to-moderate income customers. It contributes to building a stronger, distributed, and more resilient electric grid.  Taken as a whole, this support illustrates the remarkable acceptance of solar power. Through Community Solar, Ampion helps homes and businesses support local solar power and save money without having to install solar panels.

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