The US may take a hit if solar company SunPower packs up and heads to other global markets. What is pushing SunPower away? The possibility of losing the investment tax credit (ITC). The ITC provides a 30% tax break to companies buying solar panels, which is a seriously significant number for consumers, and often the deciding factor for investing in solar. Lose the ITC, they could lose significant business, and therefore lose a reason to stick around in the US.
CEO of SunPower Tom Werner announced that if the US federal government doesn’t renew the ITC, the company is likely going to head to other markets, such as France, Greece, Italy and Australia. Should they go, it’s a loss for the US, and not for SunPower. Werner puts it bluntly, “If the ITC doesn’t happen, we can move our business elsewhere and make up for that. Is that a preferred solution? No. Does America lose jobs with that? Yes. But can we as a company hit ‘08 and ‘09 without the ITC? Yes.”
Of course, SunPower isn’t the only solar company wringing its fingers over the ITC. The entire solar industry would be affected if the credit isn’t renewed, and smaller companies would likely kick the bucket. The downward spiral this could cause in the solar industry is not something I’d like to see. Perhaps the growing pressure on politicians to support alternative power will give a boost to the forces behind renewing the ITC.