In December 2020, Congress passed an extension of the federal tax credit for home solar panels through 2023, with a full 26% tax credit in 2021 and 2022 dropping to a 22% credit in 2023.
But how do Americans feel about renewable energy — and how have things changed since CivicScience last studied this topic in August 2019?
Excluding those who selected “None / No opinion,” a plurality of respondents were interested in solar power, with nuclear power in a distant second place.
Notably, the gap in interest between solar power and nuclear power narrowed somewhat over the past two years. Interest in solar power declined by three percentage points, while interest in nuclear power rose by three points. Interest in other renewable energy sources stayed roughly flat.
But what about those home solar panels? In 2019, CivicScience found that homeowners were actually less likely than non-homeowners to say they were most interested in solar power among renewable energy sources. That has since changed, with homeowners now slightly more likely to choose solar than non-homeowners. Interestingly, non-homeowners are really into biofuels.
Meanwhile, those who say they are “very concerned” about climate change and the environment were more likely than the general population to choose solar power and much less likely to choose nuclear power. At the same time, nuclear power was the renewable option of choice for those who are “not concerned at all” about climate change.
Just as we found in 2019, there’s no question that politics still play a major role in renewable energy preferences.
Those who would like to work from home all the time post-pandemic are also more interested in solar power than those who’d rather work in-person all the time.
Support for nuclear power has gained some steam in the U.S. over the past two years, but solar energy remains America’s preferred renewable energy source. Other renewable sources, such as wind and geothermal power, continue to attract substantially less interest than solar and nuclear – but these preferences vary depending on a person’s political stance and level of concern for the environment.