The purpose of the survey was to obtain a sampling of the views of residents regarding their awareness, interests, concerns, and potential barriers to deployment of solar energy in Plano. The survey consisted of approximately 35 questions. These questions were mostly the same as those from last year, which were a compilation obtained from citizen surveys performed in Houston, San Antonio, and Austin over the last few years. The results from this local survey sample were somewhat similar to the results of the other Texas cities.
Here is a sample of some of the questions and local results:
- Which of the following concern you about the future of energy and the environment?
- top responses - increased energy prices; decreased availability of energy; climate change (same as last year)
- How concerned are you about future energy prices?
- 91% responded either very concerned or somewhat concerned (slightly down from 95% last year)
- How likely are you to invest in solar power for your home or to buy a home with solar power already installed?
- 55% responded either very likely or somewhat likely (same as last year)
- How much of a factor is cost in purchasing and installing a solar power system?
- 80% responded either very important or important (down from 95% last year)
Other responses indicated:
- 72% were not aware of existing solar rebates or tax credits (67% last year)
- Aside from the concern of cost, the top three reasons cited for not having pursued installation of a solar power system were the same as last year, with a slightly different order of these type three responses.
- Don't know where to buy it (#2 last year)
- Don't know who would install it (#3 last year)
- Lack of confidence in selecting the proper system (#1 last year)
When asked how many people in Plano the respondent knew that already had solar energy installed, the responses were:
· 63% None 64% last year
· 26% One 23% last year
· 8% Two-three 12% last year
· 3% More than three 1% last year
Also, in this year’s survey, we added a few questions regarding the respondents’ regular energy consumption, awareness of advanced, or smart meters, and online energy usage monitoring.
For the approximate average monthly electricity usage, the two answers most selected by respondents were 1000-1500 kWh or 1500-2000 kWh. However, 16% responded that they didn’t know.
For the estimated peak monthly usage over the year, the answer with the most responses was 2000-3000 kWh. However, on this question 20% responded they didn’t know.
For the question - Do you have a "smart" electric meter installed at your location?
30% Don’t Know
For the 30% that answered ‘Yes’ to having a smart meter installed, 16% of those had signed up at www.smartmetertexas.com to manage and track their electricity usage. However, this represented only 7% of the total respondents.
As mentioned earlier in this article, this sample survey completed by the group of students' families from PSHS was intended to obtain a better understanding of the current views and concerns of residents. While this survey represented only a sample of Plano residents, hopefully these results and those from last year’s survey will help facilitate the implementation of a wider survey of local residents. The results from a wider survey could enable interested citizens groups to create action plans to communicate opportunities about the great potential over the coming years of expanding the deployment of solar energy right here in Plano.
And again this year, SPECIAL THANKS to the APES teachers and students at Plano Senior High School for their involvement in the process and participation in the survey!
Plano Solar Energy Advocate (LH)