Perceptions Of Solar Energy

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In late 2015, a research study was conducted to gain a better understanding of the overall opinions and perceptions of rural South Carolinians regarding solar energy. Survey respondents were drawn from a database of the twenty rural electric cooperatives that operate throughout the state and in each of the state’s 46 counties. Of specific interest was the preference for solar power installations on the property of the member-consumer versus interest in a community solar program that would be located within the community but not on an individual’s property. In addition, the survey and the anticipated results are designed to determine if there is a preference for rooftop solar generation versus ground mounted panels if solar is…show more content…
Any respondent that didn’t meet these three minimum qualifications were excluded from the survey sample.
Third party matching between the surveying organization, Bellomy Research, and the organization that represents all twenty cooperatives in the state (ECSC) was conducted to ensure a representative stratified sampling distribution across two identified demographics. The first representative demographic distribution was based on age of respondents as represented in the Table I titled SC Rural Electric Consumer Distribution by Age. An objective of the survey was to understand age demographics of those least-likely and most-likely to adopt solar power and thus matching stratification was necessary to draw conclusions across the cooperative system. An additional objective of the survey was to draw conclusions concerning the perceptions of rural South Carolinians to solar power by age of the respondents. This was done in hopes that the demographic perceptions might be shared with the state’s elected officials who had previously expressed concern that older constituents were agnostic to solar power at best and at worst opposed to renewable energy altogether. Using the survey, to match member representation with actual member demographics was used as a means to satisfy this intent.

Table I - SC Rural Electric Consumer Distribution by Age
Age Estimated Statewide
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