Solar energy grew 40 percent last year, but a Solartech survey published this morning in greentechmedia is sobering. Only 6 percent of single family home owners in Santa Clara County, California, plan to install solar panels in the next year. Only 11 percent of the survey's respondents believe solar is affordable, and 82 percent say it’s expensive. Those are tough perceptions to overcome.
"As an industry we have to more clearly define ‘solar as a brand,’” SolarTech director Doug Payne told greentech. “What that means is the total product definition, a simpler value proposition, and clearer messaging to the broader consumer marketplace. At the moment, there are some great companies leading the way but that in and of itself won't create a broader market."
It looks like former Boulder mayor Shaun McGrath, who was named president of the American Solar Energy Society today, has his work cut out for him. McGrath was the mayor of my town from 2007 to 2009 and was on the city council before that. He’s a good guy, and he helped get good stuff done. McGrath led to effort to establish Boulder as one of the nation’s first smart grid cities, and he helped pass the country’s first carbon tax. His quiet yet effective energy will be a bonus for ASES as it pushes solar energy beyond the early adapters and into the mainstream.
ASES was established in 1954, the same year as the American Nuclear Society. Both industries have struggled with public perception for very different reasons.
"The reasons for investing in solar and other renewable energies are greater now than ever, and I look forward to working with the strong and active ASES membership to aggressively promote policies and programs that move consumers, local governments, states and this nation into the new energy economy," McGrath states.
Former Boulder, Colorado, mayor Shaun McGrath will lead the American Solar Energy Society.