Poll: Most Americans support solar on public lands

solar-power-plantThe effects of pollution from coal-fired electricity, including asthma and heart conditions, are becoming more concerning every day, and Americans are increasingly favoring the development of renewable energy sources to protect their health.

This includes the use of public land for solar energy development. According to a national poll conducted for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), 75 percent of those Americans surveyed support using public lands for solar energy plants.

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The survey also showed 38 percent are in favor of using public lands for large-scale solar development, more so than other types of energy like wind, natural gas and nuclear.

According to the SEIA, the solar industry and environmental leaders involved in the study recognize the importance of private, rooftop solar systems, but also emphasize the benefits utility-scale solar has to offer.

“Not only will these projects produce clean, reliable energy, but they will create tens of thousands of high-paying, American jobs in manufacturing and construction trades from coast to coast,” Tom Hecht, vice president of sales and marketing for SCHOTT Solar, said in a SEIA press release.

According to an SEIA report, there are currently more than 100 utility-scale solar projects under development in the U.S. Additionally, five pilot plants were started in 2009. Together, these projects will produce 17 gigawatts of energy-generating capacity, or enough to power 3.4 million households. The SEIA also estimates that the projects will create 100,000 jobs.

“Solar energy will play a major role in weaning the nation from dangerous, polluting, unstable and, in many cases, increasingly expensive forms of energy,” said Sean Garren, a clean energy advocate at Environment America.

The SEIA is the national trade association of the solar energy industry, and works for the advancement of solar projects and expansion of the solar industry.

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