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Public's perception of solar overwhelmingly positive

10th Oct 2011

Solar power is maintaining a positive public image, according to a study by UMR research.

The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting today (October 10) that the results of the survey show the public's perception of solar is far ahead of other sources of energy.

80 per cent of people currently view solar energy in a favourable light, whilst only ten per cent have a negative opinion towards it.

The results are in great contrast to other power generation technologies, including nuclear and coal seam gas (CSG) projects.

According to the SMH: "Only 36 per cent viewed the coal seam gas industry in a good light, compared with 41 per cent who were negative."

48 per cent of respondents had an unfavourable opinion of coal-fired power stations, particularly in light of recent discussion over the Gillard government's carbon tax.

Nuclear power only managed a 51 per cent positive rating - whilst the oil industry recorded a 42 per cent even split between favourable and negative.

Three quarters of the 1,000 people surveyed responded positively towards renewable energy, possibly highlighting the public's readiness to adopt clean power generation in the home and on a utilities-scale.

Solar power's boost in popularity has come as the nation experiences a widespread shift in attitude towards renewable energy.

The desire to create a stable source of power that will meet demand without negatively impacting on the environment has increased dramatically in the past few years.

State and federal governments have aimed to take advantage of this turnaround by offering a range of incentives to make it easier for everyday Australians to install solar panels in the home.

Solar credits and rebates have proven popular, making it cheaper to purchase and install rooftop systems in homes, businesses and community centres.

Other incentive programs have included feed-in tariffs for excess electricity that is fed into the energy grid.

Australia is a natural choice for large-scale solar power projects - of similar size to existing coal-fired power plants - which will be able to replace more emissions-intensive sites.

The amount of natural sunlight that the country is exposed to is greater than any other continent and lends itself to generating an efficient and reliable source of energy via solar panels and solar thermal plants.

This unique advantage, coupled with existing and emerging government programs, means that Australia is likely to see further development in renewable energy infrastructure in the coming years.

Posted by Bob Dawson - News Editor

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