Americans Warm To Solar Water Heating

“Solar heating and cooling technologies” is an umbrella term used to describe solar energy technologies that capture the sun’s heat, providing energy for water and pool heating as well as space heating and cooling. These technologies save homes and businesses money by offsetting the use of electricity, natural gas and home heating fuels. Today, there are enough solar water heating systems installed in the United States to serve 1.5 million homes.

A recent study by Gotham Research Group, conducted on behalf of the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), found that public support for solar water heating remains unsullied by the the bankruptcy of Solyndra (a cutting-edge photovoltaic company, after all). The poll found that three out of four respondents (74 percent) agreed that “the growth of the solar water heating industry will produce jobs and help the American economy.” Positive perceptions of solar water heating systems exceeded negative perceptions by more than 10 to one.

Sunnovations solar hot water

image via Sunnovations

Among natural gas, oil, nuclear and wind energy, the poll found that the majority of respondents considered solar energy to be the most deserving of U.S. government support. However, many Americans remain unfamiliar with how the technology works, unsure of its reliability and unaware of how or where to purchase a system.

“This poll confirms what we’ve seen around the country,” said Monique Hanis of the SEIA. “The solar water heating industry is creating stable, good-paying installation and manufacturing jobs and helping to put our economy back on track. We also learned that while the public supports solar, the industry needs to continue educating customers on the benefits of these increasingly affordable and reliable energy solutions that reduce utility bills for thousands of homeowners.” A summary of the poll results can be found here.

Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).