2024 PUBLIC OPINION SURVEY
Of Virginians want to see more emphasis placed on Solar energy.
Solar energy received the greatest support form Virginians compared to the Commonwealth's other energy sources:
62% - More Emphasis on Solar
57% - More Emphasis on Wind
47% - More Emphasis on Hydrogen
43% - More Emphasis on Natural Gas
41% - More Emphasis on Nuclear
32% - More Emphasis on Coal
Of Virginians support a landowners right to build solar projects on their land!
There are very few issues on which Virginians can agree nearly unanimously, but 91% of Virginians side with landowners and their ability to develop a solar project on their land. So why do solar projects appear controversial? They are controversial among the select few.
In some ways, these results are not surprising. The founders of our country recognized the importance of property rights to a free and prosperous country. George Washington said, “Freedom and property rights are inseparable, you cannot have one without the other.” Virginians clearly understand their neighbor’s ability to use their land how they please—even in the case of solar development.
Of Virginians oppose local governments limiting property rights by placing bans on solar development
Across the board, regardless of ideology or geography, large majorities of Virginians said no, local governments should NOT ban solar development. Overall, 83% of Virginians sided against local bans on solar. Conservatives and liberals both polled 85% in opposition to bans, and no congressional district in Virginia polled less than 75%.
Over the past year, a trend has arisen among counties to ban or harshly restrict solar development to the dismay of willing landowners and stakeholders. It is interesting to see that these types of bans on solar developments do not have the public support that some believe they have. Again, a vocal minority sometimes swayed by emotion and poor information can lead local governments astray from the will of the larger community. Not-In-My-Backyard sentiments are tough to work through, but Virginians may be surprised to see that large majorities oppose limiting property rights with solar bans even though these majorities are often quiet.
Of Virginians would prefer to be neighbors to a solar project compared to other land uses.
We asked Virginians, “Which of the following would you prefer to see on 100 acres of land near your home?” Choosing between six development options that have different positives and negatives in terms of traffic, job creation, increased housing populations, pollution, noise, and energy creation, a decisive majority chose a solar project:
55% - A solar project
17% - A housing development
15% - A small modular nuclear reactor
8% - A natural gas power plant
5% - An industrial park
Land use decisions are decisions of opportunity costs. Some neighboring land uses bring more benefits than drawbacks and vice versa. In a Commonwealth where 91% of citizens respect a landowners right to develop their land, solar projects are a popular neighbor.