Slumping residential solar power industry


Solar power in Oklahoma never seems to have made the kind of major steps or growth seen in the state’s wind industry. Some residential or rooftop solar efforts are reported but it doesn’t appear to be a widespread acceptance.

There might be a good reason for it. Ask the people at Sunpower Corp. in San Jose, California where the firm announced this week plans to cut nearly 1,000 out of its 3,800 employees.

Here’s why. The slump in the nation’s rooftop solar business. Company spokesman Tom Werner said because of the “prolonged” slump, the firm is closing its residential installation locations. Further, the company is starting restructuring charges of nearly $28 million after being forced in January to raise $200 million to ease a cash crunch.

The slump apparently didn’t bother the federal government. Despite the residential rooftop slump, the Biden administration announced earlier in the week plans to hand out $7 billion in grants for residential solar energy. States will receive $5.5 bnilion and $1 billion will go to multi-state awards. The Environmental Protection Agency said $500 million will go to Native American tribes.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan maintained it will help 900,000 households in low-income and disasvantaged communities. He also claimed it will save $8 billion in energy costs for families.