News Column

New Poll Shows California Latinos Strongly Support Expansion of Rooftop Solar, Prioritize Increased use of Renewable Energy

PR Newswire



LOS ANGELES, June 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A new poll commissioned by the William C. Velazquez Institute (WCVI) and supported by Californians Against Utilities Stopping Solar Energy (CAUSE) shows that an overwhelming majority of Latino voters (89%) have a clear preference for solar over other energy sources. Specifically, 80% of Latinos in Southern California believe "state legislators should make it a high priority to increase the amount of rooftop solar energy in California." Additionally, 70% support California's net energy metering law (NEM) that allows owners of rooftop solar panels to receive fair credit for the excess energy they generate.

The results also demonstrate high levels of concern for air quality among Latinos, and a strong belief that encouraging the "Green Economy" will both create jobs and continue to spur the state's economy. Two-thirds of respondents believe that "increasing the use of clean, renewable energy is important," and 60% would be less likely to vote for a candidate who opposed policies that support the green economy, including net metering.

"It is clear from the survey results that Latinos are making choices about their preferences of energy sources and those choices are clearly Green and rooted in not only public health concerns but excitement about the job potential that rooftop solar growth provides," said Antonio Gonzalez, WCVI's president.

The poll was conducted by Global Strategy Group from May 28 to June 5, 2013 and surveyed randomly-selected, self-identified Latinos across four Southern California counties (Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino) who voted in the November 2012 general election. Key findings include:

Solar power, specifically rooftop solar, is extremely popular among Latinos and is seen as a source of job creation:

-- 80% believe that our state legislators should make it a high priority to increase the amount of rooftop solar energy in California; -- 70% support the net metering law that allows owners of rooftop solar panels to receive fair credit for the excess energy they generate. Industry analysts credit net metering as the cornerstone policy for continued solar growth; -- The core value statement behind the net metering law is even more popular: 74% agree with the statement "if customers are required to buy power from the utility at a certain price, the utility should have to buy excess power created by customers' solar panels at the same price"; -- More than half (54%) strongly agreed with the statement "growing the state's solar energy industry will create new jobs in California."

Future elections are likely to be directly affected by a candidate's position on environmental issues.

-- 88% of respondents are more likely to re-elect a legislator who "voted for stronger clean air standards to reduce pollution"; -- Two-thirds of those polled are less likely to vote to re-elect a legislator who "took large campaign contributions from monopoly utility companies and voted their way and against the interests of working families and the environment," with 45% much less likely to re-elect that legislator; -- 60% would be less likely to vote for a candidate for political office if they opposed pro-green economy legislation including net metering for rooftop solar.

"As a physician, I have seen firsthand the serious health issues that my patients face due to environmental issues like poor air quality," said Dr. Luis Pacheco, CAUSE co-Chair. "Diseases such as asthma hit our urban and minority populations the hardest, and this poll captures Latinos' support for tangible clean air and public health solutions like rooftop solar."

"The Latino community now realizes that jobs and public health go hand in hand with the clean economy, and rooftop solar is leading the way," added Gonzalez. "Latinos will hold their elected officials accountable if they are too cozy with groups like the investor-owned utilities that rely on fossil fuels for energy generation."

These results come at a time when California investor-owned utilities PG&E, SDG&E and SCE are working to limit rooftop solar installations because as more people go solar, they buy less electricity from the utilities. In particular, these utilities are trying to end net energy metering (NEM), a successful policy in California and 42 other states that provides consumers with fair credit for the solar they deliver to the grid. Two-thirds of California home solar installations now occur in low and median income neighborhoods, according to a July 2012 California Solar Initiative report issued by the California Public Utilities Commission.

For more information visit www.causecleanair.org or contact Leo Briones at (323) 574-2524.Californians Against Utilities Stopping Solar Energy (CAUSE)

Web site: http://www.causecleanair.org/



Source: PR Newswire