A decisive majority of citizens in California's desert communities strongly support the development of solar power facilities in their counties, according to a new survey conducted by Vote Solar, a nonprofit solar advocacy group, in partnership with Probolsky Research.
The survey assessed residents' attitudes toward solar energy development in California's Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
‘Nearly four out of five people surveyed believe that the California desert is a great resource and should be used to develop solar power projects,’ says Adam Probolsky, CEO of Probolsky Research. ‘We polled just residents living in the desert communities where renewable energy projects are being proposed. Voters understand the impacts and the rewards of utility-scale solar projects in California's desert communities, and they support it.’
The survey also found that the majority of respondents are concerned about global warming. Two out of three agree that renewable energy is an important part of California's future and that the state and federal government is right to provide financial support and tax incentives for renewable energy projects.
Jobs and the economy are by far the most important issues concerning voters in California desert counties. Unemployment rates in the counties polled are high, peaking at 26.8% in Imperial County. The construction sector is facing 18.9% unemployment across the state.
Polling data also showed that citizens of California's desert regions became even more supportive of utility-scale solar development in their county when informed that solar facilities will improve the overall air quality in their region as solar power facilities reduce dependence on California's fossil power plants.
The survey was underwritten by BrightSource Energy in order to assess community views, both positive and negative, about utility-scale solar in California's deserts, Vote Solar notes. Probolsky Research designed the questionnaire and surveyed a total of 1,019 voters.