The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022 includes significant funding for renewable energy. The IRA makes loans and tax credits available for things like clean-energy projects and transmission infrastructure. Utilities have an opportunity to use these incentives to add renewable energy to their generation mix. But how do utility customers feel about renewable energy? Let’s find out!

In this blog post, we provide a sample of our insights into customer perceptions around renewables in 2022 using data from the E Source US Residential Customer Insights Center, an online analysis tool that compiles data from the Claritas Energy Behavior Track annual online survey of about 32,000 residential customers in the US (conducted in partnership with E Source). You can use this data to inform how you prepare for and communicate about your own renewable-energy transition. If you’re eager to see more results, members of the E Source Residential Marketing Service can learn more in the report What do your customers think about renewable energy?

Do customers prefer to purchase from companies that take action for the environment, employees, and communities?

In 2022, we added a new survey question. We asked respondents about their preferences for buying from companies that take action for the environment, employees, and communities. We found that 60% of respondents preferred to purchase from these kinds of companies (figure 1).

Figure 1: Consumer opinions about purchasing from companies that take action for the environment, employees, and communities

Consumers care about which companies they purchase from. Gain points with customers by telling them about your initiatives to help the community and the environment.
34% of <abbr>US</abbr> respondents gave a rating of 9 or 10 when asked whether they prefer to purchase from companies who take action for the environment, employees, and communities. 26% gave a 7 or 8. 33% gave a 1 through 6. 7% said don't know.

How do utility customers really feel about renewable energy?

Respondents showed the highest support for tax rebates for solar or energy-efficient vehicles (44%). And they told us they see solar as an important energy source (43%) (figure 2). Some respondents also support:

  • Regulating carbon dioxide (38%)
  • Increasing the supply of renewables (38%)
  • Replacing fossil fuels with renewables (37%)

Figure 2: Consumer support for renewable energy

Consumers support tax rebates for solar and using solar power. But only 24% of US respondents agreed that their utility is making the right upgrades to infrastructure for a better future.
The statements respondents agreed with most were related to whether energy-efficient vehicle or solar panel purchases should get tax rebates, and whether solar power will be important in the future.

Do customers think their utility should source more renewable energy?

A majority (63%) of respondents agreed that more of their utility’s electric supply should come from renewable energy resources. This trend is consistent from 2021 to 2022.

Figure 3: Consumer opinions about whether their utility should source more renewable energy

Over the past two years, consumers consistently told us they want utilities to source more of their supply from renewable energy.
Comparing data from 2021 and 2022, the same percentage of respondents, 38%, gave a rating of 9 or 10 in agreement with the statement that more of the utility's electricity supply should come from renewable sources. 25% gave a rating of 7 or 8. 26% (2021) and 27% (2022) gave a rating of 1 through 6. 11% (2021) and 9% (2022) said don't know.

Contributing Authors

Senior Staff Writer, Editorial

Liza Minor began working as a staff writer in the summer of 2020. Previously, she used E Source tools and databases to identify trends in...

Lead Analyst, Market Research

Paige Martin Cox brings the voice of the customer, employee, and utility to in-house research experts and E Source members. She specializes...