As of May, almost 1,600 people have responded to the Alabama Solar Knowledge (ASK) Project public opinion survey. (And if you are not among the respondents, you can correct that omission with just a few minutes of your time here!)

Mirroring national survey results, Alabamians want renewable energy such as solar and wind, hands-down. When asked, “Of the energy sources listed here, which two would you MOST prefer your utility to use more of here in Alabama?”

  • Solar was claimed as one of the top two energy sources by 78% of respondents (1,247 respondents).

  • Wind was claimed as one of the top two energy sources by 34% of respondents (544 respondents).

  • The third-highest category, “Energy efficiency programs that help consumers use electricity more wisely and cost-effectively,” was chosen as one of the top two energy sources by 16% of respondents (252 respondents).

Sixty-three percent of survey respondents are served by Alabama Power, 20% by TVA, 11% by Power-South or rural electric co-op (the remaining 6% of respondents did not know their provider or choose “Other”). Alabama Power requires customers who add solar (or any other energy source) to their home or business to pay an extra monthly fee of $5 per kilowatt – about $25 extra per month for a typical home – the largest fee of any utility in the country. When asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of this extra fee for generating some of your own electricity?”

  • Ninety-Three percent of respondents dissaprove

  • Only 5% of respondents approve; the remaining 2% chose “Don’t know/No opinion.”

Other highlights from the surveys:

  • Fully half of respondents were aware that renewable energy sources such as solar and wind comprise less than 1% of Alabama’s present energy generation.

  • Eighty-five percent of respondents want their utility to provide them with more information about how much it relies on different energy sources.

  • Ninety-two percent of respondents think utilities should include input from those who pay the bills. (Not all electric utilities in Alabama are required to allow the public to participate in planning decisions or share their plans about renewable energy.)

  • Despite a dearth of solar installations in Alabama, more than one-in-four respondents (28%) knew someone in Alabama with a solar installation on their home or business.

Finally, when asked, “How important is it to you that your electric utility prioritizes energy sources that don't cause pollution?”

  • Ninety percent agree it is important responding chose “Very important” (72%) or “Somewhat important.” (18%)

  • Only 9% chose “Not too important” (6%) or “Not important at all” (1%), with the remaining 1% “Don’t know/No opinion.”

You can view all of the survey responses here.

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