The SunPower Foundation is working to “change the way the world is powered.” The Foundation supports on-the-ground installation projects for rural communities in places like Mexico and the Philippines, as well as curriculum development for schools.
The Solar Energy for Rural Electrification project in the Philippines has impacted over 6,000 homes and schools that sorely need reliable electricity. Launched in April 2010, Phase 3 of the project will reach an additional 135,000 students in 150 schools and 12,000 homes. The program is a partnership with regional nonprofit groups and the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Philippine Department of Energy, and Winrock International.
According to Alyssa Newman, the Foundation Director, “The foundation projects are also a great way for our employees to have a chance to participate in solar installations and give back to the world.”
Solar installers and developers agree that a big barrier to industry growth is the need to educate consumers. Recurrent Energy CEO Arno Harris said, “SunPower has done more than any other company to educate customers and make the case for strong solar policies.”
The SunPower Foundation also provides resources to students and schools. The 100 People Under the Sun lesson plan references the fact that if there were only 100 people in the world, 24 would have no access to electricity. The curriculum provides activities to help students understand their carbon footprint, renewable energy, and how solar power creates electricity from the sun. At the conclusion of the lesson plan, students get the opportunity to nominate someone in their community who is actively engaged in and implementing solar energy solutions.