Democrats may be more likely to accept the concept of climate change and promote the use of alternative energy than Republicans, but Republicans actually are more likely to install solar panels, data from SolarPulse indicates.
SolarPulse looked at 25,000 California households that installed solar panels from 1997 to 2015 and found those who lived in congressional districts with GOP representatives actually were five times more likely to install solar panels that those living in Democratic districts, Priceonomics reported Monday.
California, which produces more energy from rooftop solar panels than any other state, is an overwhelmingly Democratic state with 39 of the state’s 53 congressional districts represented by a Democrat. That’s not to say the number of homes with solar panels is significant; it’s not. Only 1.28 percent of California homes have solar panels — 1.07 percent of them Republican; 0.21 percent, Democrat.
Part of the explanation rests on home ownership rates. The data indicated more Democrats are renters, making it less likely they’d invest in solar panels. Geography also goes a long way to explain the differences: Solar panels work best in sunny, relatively dry and warm areas. They also take up a lot of space, making rural and suburban areas more likely hosting spots. Priceonomics reported Republican districts, generally in the sunny, southeastern parts of the state, average five more days of sun a year and lower population density.
The analysis found the decision to go solar is not related to political ideology.
The findings come as Congress investigates whether Exxon Mobil and other oil companies questioning climate change committed fraud. Scientists have long argued burning fossil fuels speeds climate change by releasing carbon dioxide and other gases that trap heat. Republicans last week argued states investigating the issue have suppressed alternative theories, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The Union of Concerned Scientists reported Monday Massachusetts is proof Republicans and Democrats can make headway on the issue — whether they agree on the causes or not. The group noted Republican Gov. Charles Baker Friday issued an executive order establishing a plan for implementing an integrated climate change strategy, this after signing a bill adopted by the Democrat-controlled Legislature to bring more than 3,000 megawatts of clean energy into the state.