More than three-fifths of Americans believe we now have the technological know-how for solar energy to become a really important part of our nation’s energy needs.

Since the early 20th century, Americans have been working strenuously to harness the power of the sun and use it to supplement our dependence on fossil fuels. By 1979, solar energy was even incorporated into the White House.

At the time, President Carter referred to this as “just a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people: harnessing the power of the Sun to enrich our lives as we move away from our crippling dependence on foreign oil.”

Now, thirty-five years later, a recent Harris Poll asked American adults to think ahead 2-5 years and assess if they feel solar energy will contribute to meeting our energy needs. Presently, 31% of Americans believe it will make a major contribution to meeting our energy needs within the next 2-5 years, while 53% feel it will make a minor contribution and 16% expect it will make hardly any contribution at all.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,205 U.S. adults surveyed online between October 15 and 20, 2014.

On the other hand, when pushed to look 15-20 years into the future, American confidence flips: over half (57%) the population feels it will make a major contribution, while 35% believe it will make a minor contribution and only 8% expect that solar energy will make hardly any contribution at all.

As for whether Americans believe we now have the technological know-how for solar energy to become a really important part of our nation’s energy needs, the answer for the majority is that we do (63%), while 20% believe that we do not and 17% are not sure at all.

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has 8+ years of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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2 Comments

  1. I think the success is based on massive use of PV at all levels, and the correct implementation of the smart-grid, so surpluses could be exported from customer to the grid at peak generation hours maximizing the economical equation. Another point is storage…

    1. Thanks Sergio — those are indeed valuable points.

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