- Liberal Democrats overwhelmingly believe that climate change is happening and represents a serious threat.
- Conservative Republicans feel the exact opposite is true – i.e. climate change doesn’t exist.
This survey doesn’t apply to every single person in the country. And your own views might not be reflective of this particular study. But the trend definitely exists at the national level – at least according to Pew Research.
However, there is a silver lining in these alarming numbers.
For although the country seems split on global warming, support for solar energy is incredibly high – regardless of one’s political leanings.
In fact, according to that same Pew Research Center study, nearly 90% of Americans favor expanding the use of solar photovoltaic (PV) power. And only 9% of Americans oppose harnessing clean sunshine.
But how is that even possible? How can those opposed to “environmental activism” end up supporting sustainable technologies like solar?
Let’s take a look.
Reconciling Solar with the Political Split on Global Warming
It ultimately comes down to simple economics. While it is true that going solar is one of the most effective ways for reducing one’s carbon footprint, ecological protection isn’t the #1 motivating factor behind most solar purchases. Environmental savings do exist, but most Americans are actually interested in the financial savings available.
By installing solar panels on your home or business today, you become far less reliant on the utility grid. In fact, it’s possible to wipe out your electricity bill completely if you install enough PV panels. Many of our customers in San Diego end up with negative electricity bills because they sell excess solar power to SDG&E, PG&E, or SCE.
The ability to save money is a powerful motivator for many Americans – regardless of their views on global warming. According to Pew Research, 9 in 10 homeowners go solar to reduce their utility bills. And roughly 60% cite incentives like the federal solar tax credit and state-level net metering programs as deciding factors as well.
These financial benefits are so powerful that conservatives sometimes lead the pack when it comes to solar adoption. In California, for example, Republicans are 5 times more likely to go solar than their Democratic counterparts are. You wouldn’t expect a ratio like that if global warming was the driving force behind most solar power purchases.
Does Global Warming Even Matter?
In a more perfect world, we would all be on the same page about climate change – working together to protect the environment, reduce pollution, and create a more sustainable society.
But our world is far from perfect, and we may never get everyone to agree on how serious global warming truly is. However, it’s comforting to know that despite naysayers and climate change skeptics, forward progress is still possible. Regardless of their reasons, Americans continue to embrace solar PV technology – and that’s a good thing.
If you’d like to learn more about the financial and environmental benefits of solar, contact us today for a free consultation.