From Green Right Now Reports

A survey of likely 2012 American voters has found that they overwhelmingly support solar power, with nine out of 10 saying the U.S. should develop more solar power.

The survey, conducted by Hart Research in early September, also found that 85 percent of voters view solar power “favorably” or “very favorably;” and 78 percent said that the government should support the growth of solar power with incentives.

The Solar Energy Industries Association commissioned the poll, timing it to coincide with the 2012 election.

The poll also comes as Congress continues to debate taxpayer supports for renewable power, though the largest federal tax incentive targeting solar power is scheduled to last for several more years. The Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC) provides a 30 percent tax credit for developers of solar, fuel cells and small wind projects that are placed into serve before the end of 2016.

“American voters have spoken loud and clear – they love solar and they want more of it. Republicans, independents, and Democrats are unified in calling on Congress to increase our use of solar energy in America,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the SEIA, when the poll was released Tuesday.

Earlier in September, Resch  told a gathering of solar industry workers that solar power is the fastest growing industry in the U.S. today, in part because the cost of photovoltaic panels has fallen dramatically in the last two years. The SEIA reports that solar installations, including rooftop panels for residences, cost about 50 percent less than they did five years ago.

“Today our industry continues to buck all other current economic trends. In 2011 our industry more than doubled, making it the fastest growing industry in the United States today,” Resch said, addressing hundreds at the Solar Power International conference in Orlando, Sept. 10-13.

“And the growth we’ve seen is striking, and in 2011 we hit a big marker, annual installations of US  capacity broke the 1 gigawatt threshold,” Resch said. “But we not only broke it, we crushed it . We did 1.8 gigawatts last year.”

The industry employs more than 100,000 Americans, working at 5,600 solar energy companies across the nation in all 50 states, according to SEIA.

The Hart Research poll of 1,206 U.S. voters, including an over-sample of swing voters (resulting in 762 swing voter interviews) has a margin of error of ± 2.8%.