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Majority OK With Solar Energy Development on Public Lands

A new poll from the Solar Energy Industries Association indicates that 75 percent of Americans support building solar energy plants on public lands that not set designated as national parks or nature preserves land.

"The American public overwhelmingly supports the development of solar energy," said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch in a press statement. "It is time for our elected officials to respond to this high public demand and enact policies that allow solar to compete with other energy sources on a level playing field."

The Solar Energy Industries Association is the national trade association of the solar energy industry.

The poll results also indicate solar power was the top choice (38 percent) as the best use of public land. Respondents also selected solar farms and wind power (22 percent each) as the top energy sources that the government should prioritize for support, beating out natural gas (16 percent), nuclear (16 percent), oil (11 percent) and coal (4 percent).

The outlook for utility-scale solar in the U.S. is promising. According to the press release, five new plants came online in 2009 (total 58 MW) and there are more than 100 utility-scale solar projects under development. These projects represent more than 17 gigawatts of capacity, enough to provide clean power to 3.4 million households and will create more than 100,000 American jobs.

"We expect a banner year for 2010, with more than 200 megawatts of utility-scale projects coming online," added Resch.

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