Although the Green New Deal may be a polarizing concept driving a wedge between Democrats and Republicans, solar power alone is not. Support for solar across the country is growing increasingly bipartisan. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute (GEI) released a poll that showed 73% of voters support a “cleaner, stronger” energy agenda that uses more American energy and continues environmental progress, while just 21% of voters support the Green New Deal.
Conservatives for Clean Energy (CCE) recently conducted its fifth annual statewide survey of 600 voters in North Carolina to learn about public attitudes on energy issues. The results found 85% of voters, including 76% of Republicans, are more likely to support candidates for public office who support renewable energy options. It also found 77% of voters, including 66% of Republicans and 71% of unaffiliated voters, believe solar and wind energy represent technological advances in energy production and should be expanded to help meet North Carolina’s future energy needs.
“Technology is changing our society, and voter attitudes reflect that,” said Mark Fleming, CCE president and CEO, in a statement. “Renewable energy, competition and consumer choice are clear priorities for North Carolina residents. This survey shows that these same voters want elected officials to enact pro-renewable, pro-competition policies.”
In its December 2018 study, “Energy in the American Mind,” Yale University found strong bipartisan support for requiring utilities to use 100% clean energy. It also found a majority of Americans think transitioning to clean energy will benefit the economy, and that conservative Republican support for renewable energy research has increased by 30% in the past five years.
Bipartisan bills that favor solar reflect voter attitudes. Pennsylvania is working on a bipartisan bill to open up the state’s community solar market. The South Carolina House of Representatives unanimously passed a landmark energy bill that would expand solar in the state on a bipartisan vote. California is working on a bipartisan Solar Bill of Rights to ensure California consumers can invest in solar without penalties and interference from utilities.
From sea to shining sea, it seems both sides of the aisle can agree on solar power’s benefits. As the task of solving climate change becomes more and more urgent, bipartisan agreement on solar’s important role in America’s energy mix will likely become even more common.