Global Strategy Group has released a new report stating that more than three quarters of US voters want to see their electric utilities invest more in solar energy, according to a poll released this week, which cited solar as the favourite form of energy among those surveyed.
The research showed citizens want the US government to take more action to encourage the use of solar power on all scales, with Global Strategy Group stating this indicates “solar energy’s widespread appeal among voters and national support for pro-solar policies, such as net metering and renewable portfolio standards”.
The US currently has over 8,000 significant solar photovoltaic plants, with more planned over the coming years – but let’s take a look at the largest plants in the country…
4. Mount Signal Solar – 452MW
Mount Signal Solar plant is still under construction, with two phases currently complete. It is located in California, and is expected to reach full commercial operation, significantly increasing its capacity by the end of this year. It is currently owned by Capital Dynamics which acquired it this year, and is made up of First Solar solar modules.
=3. Desert Sunlight Solar Farm – 550MW
Desert Sunlight Solar farm is co-owned by NextEra Energy Resources, GE Energy Financial Services and Sumitomo Corporation of America. It is located in the Sonoran Desert, California, with its solar modules manufactured by First Solar.
=3. Topaz Solar – 550MW
Topaz Solar is located in San Luis Obispo County, California, and has been in operation since 2014. It includes 9mn solar modules manufactured by First Solar, and is owned by MidAmerican Energy Holdings.
2. Copper Mountain – 552MW
Copper Mountain was constructed in 2010 and is located in Boulder City, Nevada. It is made up of four phases, and owned by Sempra Generation.
1. Solar Star – 579MW
Abigail Ross Hopper, CEO of Solar Energy Industries Association (SEAI) said: “Democrats, Republicans and Independents all said, everything being equal, they would vote against a politician who opposed solar power. Politicians can take this to the bank – Americans will not stand for government or company policies that prevent them from accessing clean, renewable, job-producing, affordable power.”
Over 70% of registered voters support both net metering and renewable portfolio standards of at least 50% by 2030, with 90% of respondents saying that their power company should not be able to stop them from using solar energy.
The most convincing arguments cited in the poll for US citizens were that solar causes less pollution, leading to lower health risks; the economic and job growth for local communities where solar plants are based; and the fact that solar is becoming affordable for all Americans thanks to the recent substantial decreases in price.
Andrew Bauman, Senior Vice President at Global Strategies Group, said: “The polling showed that the industry does have an opportunity to move the needle in its favour. Whether it’s support for pro-solar policies, a desire to invest in solar, or an interest taking actions to advancing solar deployment, people’s pro-solar opinions became stronger with better information.”