Poll finds overwhelming support for solar power in Pennsylvania

A bipartisan majority of Pennsylvanians favor rooftop solar over other energy sources

A new poll from Embold Research found that solar energy has strong support across political, racial, gender, and regional lines. 81 percent of survey respondents indicated “support” or “strong support” for rooftop solar on homes, making it more popular than coal, nuclear energy, and methane gas. 

The polling also showed an appetite for increased solar deployment in the Commonwealth. 65 percent of respondents would like to see Pennsylvania produce more solar, citing reasons ranging from reduced air pollution to energy bill savings. Not a single demographic group or region expressed a desire for decreased solar production.  

“These results confirm that Pennsylvanians are ready to reclaim the Commonwealth’s onetime status as a national leader in solar production,” says Elena Weissmann, Mid-Atlantic Regional Director at Vote Solar. “It’s clear that Pennsylvania residents from all backgrounds recognize the many environmental and economic benefits of solar. Policymakers and energy regulators should take note.” 

Currently, Pennsylvania has a renewable energy goal of only 8 percent, with half a percent coming from solar. This is in marked contrast to neighboring New York, Maryland and New Jersey, all of which have targets of 50 percent renewable energy by 2030. In 2021, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation that would increase Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS) goal to 18 percent by 2026.  The legislature is also considering a bipartisan bill to authorize community solar in Pennsylvania. 

“Investing in our solar economy will create jobs and put money back into the pockets of hard-working Pennsylvanians,” says State Representative Carol Hill-Evans (D-York). “Scaling up solar is a common-sense move that we now know is widely supported across the Commonwealth. There’s no reason to continue stalling; this should be a top priority for the legislature.” 

“Solar provides a pathway to a cleaner energy future for our Commonwealth,” said State Representative Chris Quinn (R-Delaware). “Solar is a growing market within the energy sector and Pennsylvania must be prepared to compete. This will enable us to create economic opportunities for our state and continue to diversify our energy portfolio. Pennsylvania has always been an energy-producing state and solar is the next, logical frontier that we must pursue.”

There are several promising bipartisan bills in the legislature that will bolster our solar industry. If our political leaders are serious about creating good paying, sustainable jobs in the trades, then we need them to invest more in Pennsylvania’s solar economy,” says Jason Grottini, Vice President of Envinity. “For too long, politics have stymied the growth of the solar industry, especially when you look at how solar has grown in neighboring states. Solar power continues to see overwhelming public support, so there should be no reason for our elected leaders to continue holding the industry back.”

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