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Survey: Majority Of Americans Think Solar Is Important

Photo credit: Capital Public Radio

Solar panels absorb the sun's rays.

The value of solar and other energy efficient products is rising as far as the public is concerned, according to a Clean Edge survey.

A new national survey finds a majority of Americans think solar power is an important part of the country's energy future, but cost is keeping many people from installing a system.

The Clean Edge survey was designed to gauge the nation's attitudes about renewable energy.

Almost 90 percent of the 1,700 people questioned said renewable energy is important to the nation's future. Half felt solar was the most important energy source.

Ron Pernick, managing director of the online technology journal Clean Edge, said the poll found the environment to be important but not the only consideration.

"The good news for those in the solar, wind and other industries is that those technologies are becoming cost competitive," Pernick said. "That's why we're seeing the shift. Americans say they care about the environment, but at the end of the day it's about their pocketbook.

The survey concluded that a majority of Americans see solar as the most important energy source in the future. Only 6 percent are considering buying a solar system in the next year because the systems remain expensive.

"Solar and wind and all these other technologies like LEDs have dropped dramatically in price," Pernick said. "That LED light bulb 30 years ago cost $30. Now you can go to Home Depot and get it for $4 to $5."

LED light bulbs were the most likely clean energy purchase respondents said they would make in the coming year.

Pernick said the survey found fossil fuels are falling out of favor, especially among young people.

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