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SunPower launches initiative to make solar accessible to marginalized communities

Written by: Leonard Parker | Solar News | 30th September

SunPower has launched SunPower 25X25, its new justice, diversity, equity and inclusion commitments designed to ensure the resiliency and economic benefits of distributed solar and battery storage serve American families, job-seekers and businesses that have been historically marginalized. The commitments include ambitious targets with initiatives to achieve them by 2025 – spanning workforce diversity, solar access expansion and dealer diversity programs.

“Distributed solar and battery storage offer tremendous benefit to our environment, are vital in building a resilient energy infrastructure, can provide lower-cost electricity, and create good, well-paying jobs,” said Peter Faricy, CEO of SunPower. “We must use this moment-in-time to ensure the rapid deployment of this critical technology benefits all Americans.”

SunPower’s new commitments align with justice, diversity, equity and inclusion commitments made by the Biden Administration, as well as the historic Justice40 Initiative, which commits 40% of the benefits of federal climate and clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities.

SunPower is committed to achieving the following targets by 2025:

Increasing workforce diversity: 40% of its workforce is represented by women; 25% of its workforce is represented by Black and Hispanic/Latinx people. Emphasis will be placed on workforce development programs for the company’s growing residential installation teams across the country. Expanding access for customers: 25% of its U.S. residential customers are made up of people who live in historically marginalized communities. Includes the development of a new program to provide low-income customers with no-interest loans. Ensuring industry equity: 25% of the dealers and subcontractors it works with will be owned by women and people of color. Includes establishment of a new dealer diversity program and creation of new partnerships with minority-owned business organizations.

These efforts build upon SunPower’s diversity pledge and the company will report progress annually in its “Environmental, Social and Governance” report.

“Black professionals working in solar services have roots, relationships and experience in all communities, particularly those disproportionately impacted by climate change. If the solar industry is going to provide renewable energy access and equitable job opportunities, actively engaging black-owned businesses is vital,” said Walter McLeod, founding board member of Black Owners of Solar Services. “We commend SunPower for committing to creating an intentionally diverse dealer and subcontractor network and raising the bar for others in the industry to do the same.”

News item from SunPower