Earth Day was established in 1970 to raise awareness about pollution and drive environmental regulations. It’s served an important purpose, offering a moment in time for people to celebrate, reflect and do their part to green the earth. But to reverse the impacts of climate change, sustainable practices must be embedded in our lives every single day of the year. Earth Day is simply not enough.
Whether we’d like to admit it or not, the evidence of climate change is easy to find. It seems in recent years that it has made itself more apparent from record-breaking heat in the north to increased wildfire disasters on the west coast and above-average tornadic activity this spring in the south. At first glance, it may seem like restoring the planet is a hopeless cause but there is a bright side and it comes directly from the sun.
Last month, the UN climate report made one thing very clear – we must act now to limit the damage that harmful greenhouse gas emissions have already caused. But perhaps the most encouraging takeaway is this, change is possible if we all play our role.
The report laid out a blueprint of what must be done to slow the effects of climate change and it starts with rapidly accelerating the use of renewable energy and cutting fossil fuels. Effective solar policy can help bring these initiatives to light by making solar energy more accessible to all Americans.
The U.S. Congress is currently considering a large budget package that includes a long-term extension of the federal solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar and storage solutions. The solar ITC helps reduce upfront costs for homeowners who opt-in for solar power. Currently, the ITC provides homeowners with a tax credit of 26% of the total cost of their solar system1. But starting in 2023, this credit will decrease to 22% before completely phasing out in 2024. In response, SunPower’s policy and strategy team has been working with members of Congress to encourage an ITC extension of 30% for the next 10 years. This alone could make a sizable impact in increasing solar adoption.
Beyond solar policy, SunPower is working on additional ways to make solar power more affordable. In late March, we announced that a strategic alliance with solar manufacturer First Solar Inc. was in the works. First Solar would produce solar panels that would produce a thin-film solar technology along with crystalline silicon to capture even more sunlight. SunPower’s solar panels already have a reputation for their high efficiency. These new solar panels would continue that legacy, helping homeowners greatly reduce their utility bills. Homeowners can also take advantage of SunPower’s affordable financing options to buy or own their highly efficient solar panels if needed.
We are on the precipice of an energy transition and it’s up to all of us to tip the scales. Over the course of three decades, SunPower has offered a way for homeowners to do their part with the world’s best solar. But we can’t stop there. We are focused on making it easier for more people to adopt renewable energy and making deeper commitments to ensure our business practices are as green as our product. There is so much we can do, but let’s start by changing the way our world is powered. Every day.
1 Tax credits subject to change. SunPower does not warrant, guarantee or otherwise advise its partners or customers about specific tax outcomes. Consult your tax advisor regarding the solar tax credit and how it applies to your specific circumstances. Please visit the dsireusa.org website for detailed solar policy information.