Then, I found the actual question opposed to survey participants on the website of the Institute conducting the survey:
In Germany, solar power has been supported for years with rates financed by a surcharge on the retail rates. In other words, all energy consumers pay. Now, these rates are to be reduced by up to 45 percent within a year. The proposal has brought about some debate. One camp says that a clear reduction in rates for solar power is a good idea because it takes a burden off consumers and solar power does not need so much support anymore. Critics counter that such a drastic cut would endanger Germany's technological leadership and threaten jobs; in addition, the cuts are held to be the wrong signal for climate policy. They therefore call for cuts to be made in smaller increments over a longer time frame. What do you believe? Should support for solar power be cut significantly or in small increments over a longer time frame -- or should it be reduced at all?
The results are quite astonishing:
- 30 percent of those surveyed do not want any reduction
- 54 percent want incremental reductions over a longer period of time
- and 12 percent want the proposed cuts.
The question, of course, is whether the survey question as it was posed skews the results. It does tend to go on a bit about criticism of the proposals, whereas support for the proposed cuts is really given short shrift. I wonder what the results would be if the actual figures for what solar costs had been included in the question. Also, supporters of the cuts could easily have added that the price of standard crystalline panels has dropped by a good 30 percent, but the rates of for rooftop arrays will be cut by less than 30 percent under the proposal. The 45 percent cut only applies to arrays on farmland, which some people don't want.
Nonetheless, I suspect that a lot of Germans are against proposed rate cuts because they would like to have solar on their own roofs -- or already do.