So much support for solar, so little of it in U.S.


editors-blog-entry3Solar power rocks – and America knows it. This according to yet another in a long line of polls that have consistently shown broad support for solar in the U.S.

Here are some of the numbers from the 2010 SCHOTT Solar Barometer, a nationally representative survey conducted by independent polling firm Kelton Research:

  • 94% of Americans think it is important for the nation to develop and use solar energy;
  • 92% of Republicans, 98% of Democrats and 94% of Independents agree it is important for the U.S. to develop and use solar power;
  • 80% of Americans agree that Congress should consider reallocating federal subsidies from fossil fuels to solar — 86% of Democrats, 69% of Republicans and 81% of Independents feel this way;

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Why doesn’t U.S. have more solar?
If there’s such overwhelming support for solar in the U.S., why don’t we have more of it?

In fact, solar is going up at a good clip in the U.S., with projections for 1.75 gigawatts of new solar PV for 2011, or about double the total installed in 2010.

That’s good news, but, with a few notable exceptions, Americans in most places in the U.S. still aren’t likely to encounter much solar in the course of their everyday lives. When they do, we’ll know that America is finally practicing what it says it wants to preach.

Unfortunately, when one peers through the glass of American politics support for solar doesn’t look quite so rosy as it does through the lens of public opinion.

There’s a good reason that: The economic might of the fossil fuel industries. They’re throwing as much money as they can at American politicians in what we’re certain will turn out to be a futile attempt to beat back the advance of renewable energy forms such as solar — and the will of the American people which promises to inevitably push this advance forward.

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