UK: Latest poll puts public support for solar at 83%

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Despite garnering the most support of any source of energy in the U.K., the British public drastically underestimate the technology’s popularity, a new poll has found.

In a survey of 2,037 British adults conducted last week by ComRes – a leading market research consultancy headquartered in London – it was revealed that 83% of Brits say they support solar farms, and just 8% are against them.

What was particularly interesting in this latest poll, which was commissioned by climate change charity 10:10, was just how few Brits actually believed how popular solar actually is among their peers. The survey showed that just 10% of those polled believed more than half of the population support solar, which suggests that more work needs to be done in spreading the message that PV has been taken to the hearts of the British public.

Recent severe cuts to solar subsidy schemes such as the FIT and the Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC) may have stripped confidence and investment from the sector, but solar still regularly outperforms all other forms of energy generation in opinion polls.

The survey also revealed previously unheralded public support for onshore wind farms, with 73% of those polled actually supporting these farms – going completely against the pervasive rhetoric regularly seen in the mainstream media that says the British public hate these "unsightly" power plants.

Furthermore, despite being backed by three-quarters of the population, the perception of onshore wind as a maligned source of power is still high – only 11% of those polled believed that such farms curried the favor of more than 70% of the population.

"The U.K. public love wind power and they don’t even realize," said 10:10’s Max Wakefield at the launch of the charity’s Blown Away campaign. "It’s plainly not true onshore wind is unpopular with the U.K. public. It’s time our politicians caught up."

What is true in this instance for wind, is even more apparent for solar PV.

Other sources of energy fared badly in the poll. Fracking could garner a mere 34% of support, with 45% of those surveyed staunchly against it. Nuclear power had 46% support, with 37% opposed.

These figures closely match the results of recent government-conducted polls, which regularly put public support for renewable energy above 80%, while fracking barely garners more than 40% support.