18 June 2012
In celebration of the summer solstice on 20 June 2012, the day the sun shines for the longest period of time all year in the northern hemisphere, Applied Materials, Inc. today announced the results of its fourth annual solar energy survey, which measures consumer understanding and awareness of this renewable energy source.
Applied Materials conducted the 2012 survey among consumers in four countries in the northern hemisphere with high growth potential for solar power: China, India, Japan and the US. The survey found consumers in these markets are optimistic about the future of solar power. At the same time, many had a mixed understanding of the current cost and adoption rates of solar technology, highlighting what is arguably the greatest challenge to solar energy use: lack of consumer awareness.
Applied Materials conducts the annual summer solstice survey each year as part of its commitment to help drive down the total cost per watt of solar technology and ultimately make solar a more meaningful contributor to the global energy mix.
Last year at this time, industry data suggested that by 2020, 98% of the world’s population would have achieved grid parity or solar energy power that is cost-competitive with traditional energy prices, but the data now suggests that this milestone will be achieved by the end of 2012. Of all the respondents, 55% recognise this shift and believe solar energy is less expensive than traditional energy sources, such as coal. Respondents in India were most likely (68%) to believe solar power was less expensive. Conversely, respondents in Japan were most likely (51%) to believe solar power was more expensive compared to traditional energy sources. Of the 35% of international consumers who believe solar power to be more expensive, 39% believe it will become equal to or less expensive than traditional power within nine years.
Nearly half (46%) of all respondents believe the growth of the solar market would create jobs. The US is most optimistic with nearly six in 10 consumers (58%) expressing this view. China and India are nearly equal in second place in their estimation of job growth, at 49% and 48%, respectively. Consumers in Japan are the most cautious, with four in 10 believing that it will have no impact on the job market. Of people surveyed internationally, 25% think that it will reduce the number of jobs.
Nearly six in 10 (58%) consumers in China believe that the projected rate of solar energy adoption to15 gigawatts (GW) by 2015 is too slow of an adoption rate. And when respondents in India were asked about the government’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s goal of increasing the contribution of renewable energy to 6% of India’s total energy mix by 2022, more than half (51%) voiced concern that the rate of adoption was too slow.
As both countries face rapidly rising energy needs due to a growing population with increasing energy demand, people are realising that solar power can play a major role in supplying much needed energy and jobs, while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Applied Materials is committed to accelerating the adoption of solar technology globally and invests in renewable energy educational programs fostering environmental stewardship to inspire the next generation of innovators. These programs include the Clean Tech Competition for high-school students in Northern California and Xi’an, China, as well as the US and China 2013 Solar Decathlon competitions that challenge teams from colleges and universities worldwide to design and build innovative solar-powered homes that are attractive, affordable and energy efficient.
Ketchum Global Research & Analytics and Ipsos conducted the Applied Materials Summer Solstice survey online between 25 May and 5 June 2012 in the US and 29 May 29 through 7 June 2012, in India, China and Japan on behalf of Applied Materials. Ipsos used a mixed sample approach to conduct 1,000 interviews within each country. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult online population in Japan, China and India. For the US, the sample is based to the US census and no weighting was applied. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/-3.1 percentage points in 19 times out of 20 of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults in each of the countries responded. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including but not limited to coverage error and measurement error.