13.2

Gigawatts

of solar installed as of 2019

3.5%

Of Residential Buildings

in the U.S. that could economically benefit from solar panels now have them

82%

Recycling Rate

of solid waste in 2019

View Our Analysis

The Path to Drawdown: Rooftop Solar

To solve climate change and remain below 1.5ºC of global warming, the globe needs to switch to generating power from fossil fuels to using 100% emissions free sources.

The largest source of this clean energy is the sun (barring advances in nuclear fusion). Photovoltaic or PV solar panels (the kind you see on rooftops) have emerged as the predominant way of capturing the sun's energy and converting it into electricity.

The industry has been growing fast and, as of 2020, solar panels are now the cheapest source of electricity in most places on earth.

Solar produces ~2% of global electricity today. According to Project Drawdown, to be on a path to remain under 1.5ºC of warming, rooftop (aka distributed) solar will need to be generating a combined ~14% of global electricity by 2050.

There are approximately 67.2m residential buildings in the US that are suitable for solar. As of 2020, approximately 3.5% of them have solar panels.

So, to be on a path to Drawdown, rooftop solar is going to need to continue to massively scale across the globe over the few next decades:

  • <::marker> 183 TWh of rooftop solar electricity generated in 2018 (approximately 15 million buildings)
  • <::marker> 3348 TWh of rooftop solar needed by 2030 (approximately 280 million buildings)
  • <::marker> CAGR of 14.8% from 2018 - 2030
  • <::marker>  
  • <::marker> 10,341 TWh (or 6.16 TW) of rooftop solar needed by 2050. (>800 million buildings, using today’s PV efficiency numbers)
  • <::marker> CAGR of 13.44% from 2018 - 2050

It’s important to note that in addition to manufacturing and installation capacity, rooftop solar will likely need support of additional decarbonization technologies, specifically batteries and microgrids, to reach this level of scale.

What We Want to See Improve

Set Clear Expansionary Goals

SPWR has not set the clear decarbonization goals for their manufacturing process or their supply chain that competitors have established. The lack of a zero-carbon commitment date, CO2 emissions trend line or other commitments leaves investors without sustainability benchmarks to use for accountability. And with only 0.33 TWh in their residential pipeline, plus more in commercial and industrial, we’d like to see higher sales channel figures to support expansionary potential.

Set Clear Sustainability Goals

From energy to materials, SPWR has significant opportunities to improve its efforts to achieve sustainable production. Current use of only 0.7% renewable energy is undeniably minimal. And evolving future designs and manufacturing processes to utilize inputs primarily derived from recycling old panels could provide insulation from supply chain shocks and potentially enhance gross margins.

Clean Supply Chain

A manufacturer with SPWR’s leading stature has sufficient leverage to insist on an emissions-free supply chain from its business partners. At present, no such supply chain commitments exit. We believe ethical considerations, as well as the potential to proactively reduce supply chain risks from future carbon taxes, should drive SPWR management to pursue these commitments.

Related Solar Energy Stocks in the Climate Index

View All Climate Index Stocks →

Allocated Company Description

2.00%

Enphase Energy (ENPH)

Enphase makes micro-inverters, which are critical components in making rooftop solar more efficient. It's a key solution to expanding rooftop solar

1.18%

SolarEdge Technologies (SEDG)

SolarEdge makes power optimizer, solar inverter and monitoring systems for rooftop solar. These are key equipment in making solar power more efficient

0.82%

First Solar (FSLR)

First Solar makes innovative solar panels from a single glass substrate, making it possible to make panels in one factory in 4.5 hours

0.76%

Sunrun (RUN)

Sunrun makes and installs residential solar energy systems. Solar is a crucial centerpiece of electrifying everything

0.36%

Daqo New Energy (DQ)

Daqo makes high-purity silicon that goes into solar panel. This is a critical ingredient in converting sunlight into electricity

0.36%

Sunpower (SPWR)

Sunpower offers residential and commercial solar power systems and solar storage. Rooftop solar PV is one of the keys to an emissions-free energy system

0.33%

Shoals Technologies Group, Inc. (SHLS)

Shoals makes all of the components necessary for solar PV systems to connect to the grid. They’re helping expand solar energy

0.31%

Sunnova (NOVA)

Sunnova provides residential solar and energy storage systems in the United States. Both are critical for electrifying the energy system

0.17%

Array Technologies, Inc. (ARRY)

Array Technologies offers machine learning-based solutions that track the sun so that solar PV systems can generate more electricity

0.17%

Jinko Solar (JKS)

Jinko Solar is the largest solar panel maker in the world and heavy investor in solar R&D. They’re a key player in expanding solar energy

0.16%

Canadian Solar (CSIQ)

Canadian Solar makes and ships solar panels all over the world. This is critical for electrifying everything

0.14%

Gibraltar Industries, Inc. (ROCK)

Gibraltar Industries makes the mounting racks for solar panels that are tailor-made for the buildings and fields where solar systems will be placed

0.07%

Azure Power (AZRE)

Azure Power develops solar power for central and state government utilities in India. Solar power is a key centerpiece of a zero-emissions energy system

0.07%

Maxeon Solar Technologies, Ltd. (MAXN)

Maxeon Solar Technologies makes solar panels and related solar system components worldwide - a critical piece in a zero-emissions energy mix of the future

0.05%

FTC Solar, Inc. (FTCI)

FTC Solar offers solar tracker systems so that solar PV systems can produce more electricity. Expanding solar energy is key to a decarbonized world

0.03%

Renesola Power (SOL)

Renesola Power develops utility-scale solar projects in over 10 countries. This is the type of effort needed to scale solar power to electrify the grid

0.02%

iSun, Inc. (ISUN)

iSun is one of the biggest commercial solar developers in the US. They’re a valuable contributor to expanding solar power

0.02%

Orbital Energy Group, Inc. (OEG)

Orbital Energy offers engineering, construction, and maintenance for utility-scale solar systems. They help expand solar power

0.02%

SPI Energy Co., Ltd. (SPI)

SPI Energy develops solar PV solutions for businesses, residential, government and utility customers. Expanding solar is key to a clean energy system

0.02%

Sunworks (SUNW)

Sunworks makes solar power systems for a wide range of markets. Solar is a key zero-carbon energy source

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