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EcoWatch is a community of experts publishing quality, science-based content on environmental issues, causes, and solutions for a healthier planet and life.

By Amanda Froelich

Jane Goodall is one of the most iconic conservationists on planet Earth—and for good reason! At age 26, she left England with little more than a notebook, binoculars and a dream to live with wild chimpanzees in Africa.

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The skyline of Ardrossan, North Ayrshire, Scotland, is dominated by an enormous wind farm. Vincent van Zeijst, CC BY

By Amanda Froelich

Slowly but surely, it is becoming fact that households and entire countries can run on clean, renewable energy. Costa Rica, for instance, ran on renewable energy sources for 285 days in 2015 and achieved similarly in 2016. Additionally, Denmark produced 160 percent of its energy needs in one day in July of 2015 via wind power.

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SunPower Solar: Reviews, Costs, Quality & More (2021)

We review SunPower's strengths and weaknesses to help you understand if it's the right company for you.

Reviews
SOPA Images / Contributor / Getty Images

Solar industry leader SunPower consistently ranks as one of the best solar companies (and solar panel manufacturers) in the country. In this article, we'll take a look at why SunPower solar reviews are so positive and help you decide whether the company is a good fit for your home solar installation.

In recent years, SunPower has focused its business on commercial solar energy systems, but the company has since doubled down on the residential solar market. This is good news for homeowners, as SunPower offers some of the best solar panels and energy-related services on the market today.

SunPower Solar Fast Facts
Year Started 1985
Service Areas All 50 states, with Master Dealers in AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, HI, IL, LA, MD, MA, MI, NV, NJ, NY, OR, TX, UT
Service Types Customized solar panel systems, complete with electric vehicle (EV) chargers and backup battery installations
Types of Panels Sold SunPower manufactures its own high-efficiency monocrystalline panels
Backup Battery Options SunPower SunVault™ Storage system
Certifications Solar Energy Industries Association, Cradle to Cradle Sustainability, North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) technicians
Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating A+ with accreditation

The best way to figure out whether solar is a good investment for your home is to see how much an installation would cost. To receive a free, no-obligation quote from SunPower or a similar company in our network of pre-screened installers, fill out the 30-second form below.

SunPower Overview

SunPower has been in the solar business since 1985 and strives to provide a safe and reliable experience to customers. The San Jose-based manufacturer and installer currently offers services in every state. The BBB gives SunPower an A+ rating, which is above the industry average.

SunPower's greatest strength lies in the quality of its products, customer service and the comprehensiveness of the systems it designs and installs. SunPower has a product portfolio of high-efficiency solar panels manufactured by Maxeon, which recently spun out of SunPower to form its own entity. SunPower's Maxeon panels are some of the most efficient and durable solar panels on the market, and they're also the world's first solar panels to be Cradle to Cradle Certified safe, circular and responsibly made products.

With a strong foothold in manufacturing and commercial solar, SunPower has made moves to double down on its residential services; we expect big things. By acquiring Blue Raven Solar in October 2021, a young company with a reputation for excellent customer service and innovative financing options, SunPower demonstrates its commitment to expanding its share of the residential market.

SunPower Solar Services and Installation

SunPower's broad range of services set it apart from the competition. SunPower systems come complete with customized, fully integrated solar and storage platforms as well as add-ons like EV chargers. Unlike most other solar providers that offer products from varying manufacturers, SunPower's PV cells, panels, inverters, batteries and chargers are all produced in-house, are designed to work in tandem and are covered by the same warranty. This cohesion can simplify the process for SunPower's customers.

SunPower Solar Panels

SunPower offers four types of solar panels:

  • A Series: Built with the newest Maxeon Gen 5 solar cells, the A Series is SunPower's premiere panel, delivering up to 22.7% efficiency with the world's first 400-watt panels.
  • X Series: Built with Maxeon solar cells, X Series panels deliver up to 22.7% efficiency and have capacities up to 370 watts. These panels are perfect for space-constrained projects.
  • E Series: Built with Maxeon solar cells, delivering up to 20% efficiency and available in 320, 327 or 435-watt panels, the E Series is a great all-around solar panel.
  • P Series: These panels are built with SunPower's unique shingled solar cells. Up to 19% efficiency and available in a range of panels from 380 to 400 watts, P Series panels are optimized for large commercial projects.

SunPower Solar Storage

Unlike most other solar companies, which install third-party battery systems, SunPower offers customers its own SunVault Storage Systems to be paired with its solar panels. SunPro's SunVault Storage and Helix Storage (which is used in commercial installations) offer simple but powerful energy storage solutions.

These batteries are designed for day-to-day use and can significantly add to the amount of energy a customer is able to offset with SunPower solar panels. Best of all, these battery systems provide monitoring systems and backup power when the grid fails — something solar panels by themselves are incapable of.

For customers set on purchasing another brand's battery, there is no need to worry. SunPower panels pair well with other products like the Enphase Encharge and Tesla Powerwall batteries.

SunPower Solar Installation Process

SunPower prides itself on a smooth and easy customer process that can be carried out entirely remotely if preferable. Its intuitive design studio even lets you build your own solar system online from the comfort of your home, so you can see what solar looks like on your roof.

The installations themselves are carried out by partners within SunPower's nationwide network of certified solar installation contractors. SunPower chooses to hire contractors local to the region so that they can customize your solar system according to local weather patterns, building materials and city codes.

An average SunPower customer can expect the installation process to look like this:

  1. Free online estimate: By giving information about where you live, how much energy you use and your credit score, you can get a free online estimate from SunPower that includes the estimated system cost as well as projected 25-year energy savings.
  2. Solar consultation: If you want to move forward with SunPower after receiving your free quote, you can set up a free, virtual consultation with a SunPower representative. At this stage in the process, you have the chance to ask any questions about the system's design and how to meet your home's energy needs. After this, you'll receive a proposal.
  3. Complete paperwork and obtain solar permits and approvals: SunPower will apply for all permits and building approvals from your presiding city or county on your behalf. This process can take up to a few weeks. SunPower will also ensure you're enrolled in any eligible net metering programs.
  4. Solar system installation: SunPower will arrange for your system to be installed by one of its certified partners. Some states have technicians that are part of the company's Master Dealers program, which is an invite-only, rigorously selected list of SunPower dealers that best represent SunPower's brand. Installations typically take less than a day, depending on the complexity of the system.
  5. Inspections and permission to operate (PTO): After the system is installed, you'll need to wait until it's inspected by both your city and your utility company before you can turn it on. SunPower will arrange the inspections, and after your system passes, you can start using your solar power.

Solar Panel Warranty

A major benefit of the complete systems SunPower offers is that the entire solar energy project is covered by the same 25-year warranty. This comprehensive warranty guarantees 25 years of 92% output (most other companies are around 80%) and offers free repairs on any flaws in product performance, workmanship or defects.

SunPower's warranty is one of the best in the business, if not the best, and reflects the company's success in executing its core goals of providing a safe and reliable experience for customers.

SunPower Solar Costs and Financing

It's tough to predict the cost of solar for a single provider, as costs depend heavily on your location, home and energy needs. Though SunPower may have a slightly higher average price tag than some other providers, its business focuses on efficiency, and purchasing more efficient panels will save customers more in the long run.

Many small local solar installers offer discounts and deals to undercut big companies like SunPower. That's why it's smart to get quotes from multiple companies and compare them to see which installer offers the best solar panels at the most competitive price. Keep in mind the quality of panels you're considering, as the cheapest solar panels don't always provide the best value.

Financing Options Through SunPower Solar

SunPower offers three solar purchasing plans for customers, all backed by the SunPower 25-year warranty.

  1. Purchase in cash: Buying your system from SunPower outright will give you the shortest solar panel payback period and the highest return on your investment.
  2. Purchase with loan: With a third-party loan, customers can fund the purchase of their solar equipment and pay the loan off typically in five to 10 years. If you go this route, you still own the system, your solar panels will increase your property value and you'll be able to claim the federal solar tax credit. However, because of the interest you'll be paying and any applicable loan fees, this option is less advantageous than paying cash.
  3. Lease solar panels: SunPower offers solar leasing, which means the company retains ownership of the panels and you pay a monthly fee to purchase the power they generate. You don't have to pay much, if anything, for the installation, and your monthly payments are guaranteed to be lower than a typical power bill. But because you do not own the system, it won't add to your property value and you cannot claim the federal tax credit. This is the least advantageous option.

SunPower Solar Reviews

Similar to other larger solar operations, SunPower's size is both a strength and a weakness. Positive SunPower solar reviews praise the company's customer service, installation teams and system performance, yet communication troubles through a large bureaucracy have led to some negative feedback. Overall, it should be noted that SunPower reviews are largely positive.

Positive SunPower Reviews

Positive SunPower solar reviews reflect a successful commitment to its business model of good customer service, the best warranty in the business and highly efficient products. Positive reviews similar to those below usually reflect helpful representatives, consistent system performance and a company true to its warranty.

"We have had our panels for about six or seven years now, and they have performed as advertised. SunPower did replace the inverter several years ago with no fuss, no muss. I highly recommend SunPower for solar power generation." — Warren M via BBB

"My process took longer than expected due to unexpected issues. Throughout the process, the communication was good. They kept me up to date. All staff that came to my house were courteous and professional. They scheduled appointments around convenient times for me. Overall, it was a pleasant experience to get the system up and running. I would definitely recommend this team." — Linda S via BBB

Negative SunPower Reviews

Most of SunPower's negative reviews stem from issues within its chain of communication. SunPower is a massive organization, and at times some customers can feel lost in the shuffle. The company also outsources aspects of the work to local installers familiar with local ordinances, permitting and utility standards. This can lead to some customers wishing for one central point of contact.

Given the size of SunPower's operation, it has an impressively small number of negative customer reviews. Here are a couple of examples:

"We purchased a house that has a leased SunPower solar system. There is a one-time early buyout option that we are considering. SunPower has been impossibly unresponsive to our questions and concerns." — Mark W via BBB

"We've had solar panels for three years. This past May, we were notified that there was an issue with the panels. They have been to our house several times and still can't figure out the problem. They keep sending outside vendors to fix it but no solution." — Samira S via BBB

Our Take on SunPower Solar

SunPower's superior customer service, wide product offerings, complete systems and leading warranty make it one of the most trusted solar providers on the market today. SunPower has an A+ from the BBB and is taking concrete steps to improve any weaknesses to its business model by expanding its availability to homeowners through leases and improved financing options.

Overall, we recommend SunPower to homeowners whose priorities are simplicity, reliability and efficiency. The main downsides to SunPower stem from high initial costs, which can be offset by using high-efficiency products over time. However, some homeowners with plenty of space on their roofs may find better value in a lower-efficiency panel from a different company. Local competitors may also offer more competitive pricing to undercut the larger competition.

SunPro Solar Pros SunPro Solar Cons
Large service area Above-average initial cost
High-efficiency systems with backup battery and EV charging services Lack of customization with panel choice
Strong warranty
Excellent customer service
Flexible financing and lease options

Solar Energy Provider Comparison

To get a better understanding of our rating, let's look at SunPower compared to two other popular national providers: Sunpro Solar and Sunrun. SunPower typically ranks highly in customer services, service areas and warranty.

SunPower Sunpro Solar Sunrun
Year Started 1985 2008 2007
Services Offered Solar panel installation, battery installation, monitoring Solar panel installation, battery installation, monitoring Solar panel installation, battery installation, monitoring, maintenance
Batteries Offered Yes Yes Yes
Service Areas All 50 States AZ, AR, CA, FL, GA, IL, IA, KS, LA, MS, MO, NE, NV, NM, NC, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, VA AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, HI, IL, MD, MA, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, PA, RI, SC, TX, VT, WI, Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.
BBB Rating A+ A+ B+
Payment Options Cash, loan, lease Cash, loan Cash, loan, lease, power purchase agreement (PPA)

FAQ: SunPower Solar Reviews

Is SunPower a good company?

SunPower is a leader in the solar energy market for customer service, warranty and panel efficiency. Whether SunPower is the best company for you will depend on your energy needs, but SunPower is a reputable solar company with an impressive track record of customer satisfaction.

Is SunPower going out of business?

This is a misconception. SunPower recently split into two companies, separating from its manufacturing arm now known as Maxeon. SunPower will continue to work closely with Maxeon by selling and installing its products but will focus its efforts more on expanding the services it offers to customers.

Does SunPower make the best solar panels?

SunPower makes some of the most efficient solar panels available today. Whether they are the best for your home will depend on your energy needs. High-efficiency solar panels are typically best suited for homes with limited amounts of roof space.

Are SunPower panels Tier 1?

SunPower's panels are Tier 1, which means they can be used for larger, utility-scale solar installations. Tier 1 panels are not necessarily higher quality than Tier 2 or 3 panels.

Karsten Neumeister is a writer and renewable energy specialist with a background in writing and the humanities. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the energy sector of New Orleans, focusing on renewable energy policy and technology. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.


As a result of South Africa's highest court rejecting a bid by the government to keep a ban on the sale of rhinoceros horn, it will soon be legal to buy and sell the land mammals' horns in the country.

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Photo credit: Quadrum

By Amanda Froelich

From transforming shipping containers into homes to reassembling them into vivacious greenhouses, there is a lot one can do with the apparatuses. But construct a gorgeous hotel? Why not.

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Photo credit: iStock

By Whitney Webb

The first photos of the wild boars that have come to dominate the abandoned streets of towns near the site of the 2011 Fukushima disaster have emerged as government-led teams begin to cull the boar population to make way for the expected return of the towns' former residents.

For the last six years, the streets of the towns abandoned in the wake of the Fukushima disaster have been walked, not by people, but by wild, radioactive boars. After the 2011 meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, exclusion zones were set up around the plant and the populations of the towns within were evacuated to a safer distance, giving rise to Fukushima "ghost towns." In the years since, hundreds upon hundreds of wild boars have come to roam the deserted streets, foraging for food.

The highly radioactive boars have been reported to attack people when provoked and have become a major problem in the Japanese government's efforts to prepare the towns for the eventual homecoming of its former, human residents. In the abandoned coastal town of Namie—just 2.5 miles from the site of the meltdown—residents are expected to return at the end of the month, meaning that the boars must be cleared. Tamotsu Baba, mayor of Namie, told the Mirror: "It is not really clear now which is the master of the town, people or wild boars."

The Japanese government has been sending in teams to "cull" the boars, which has also led the radioactive animals to be filmed and photographed for the first time. According to Baba, the need to eliminate the boars is urgent: "If we don't get rid of them and turn this into a human-led town, the situation will get even wilder and uninhabitable." The "culling" teams have been using cage traps and air rifles to reduce the boar population in Namie and three surrounding towns, including Tomioka where 800 boars have already been killed. Hundreds more boars have been captured since the program began and population control efforts are expected to continue well after residents return.

However, not all residents will be returning. For example, well over half of Namie's pre-disaster population of 21,500 have decided not to return home, according to a government survey conducted last year. These residents cited concerns over radiation and the on-going safety issues at the nuclear power plant as the main reason for their decision.

The Growroom

By Amanda Froelich

There's a lot to appreciate about the Swedish company IKEA. From its numerous projects which have helped raise awareness about the Syrian peoples' plight to its commitment to the environment by using mushroom-based packaging that decomposes within weeks, the furniture business is progressive, to say the least.

Now, IKEA has released open source plans for The Growroom, which is a large, multi-tiered spherical garden that was designed to sustainably grow enough food to feed a neighborhood. The plans were made free on Thursday with the hope that members of the public will invest their time and resources to create one in each neighborhood, if not in every person's backyard.

The tools required to create the spherical garden include plywood, rubber hammers, metal screws and diligence to follow the instructions comprised of 17 steps. The Huffington Post reports that The Growroom isn't shipped in a flat pack like most IKEA products. Instead, users are required to download the files needed to cut the plywood pieces to size and are encouraged to visit a local workshop where the wood can be professionally cut. The free instructions online walk the builder through the remaining steps.

The Growroom

According to a press release, there are already plans to build Growrooms in Taipei, Taiwan; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; San Francisco and Helsinki, Finland. You can add your city to the list by jumping on the opportunity and crafting a Growroom in your neighborhood.

The project is the brainchild of Space10, based in Denmark. The company wrote:

Local food represents a serious alternative to the global food model. It reduces food miles, our pressure on the environment and educates our children of where food actually comes from … The challenge is that traditional farming takes up a lot of space and space is a scarce resource in our urban environments.

The Growroom … is designed to support our everyday sense of well being in the cities by creating a small oasis or 'pause' architecture in our high paced societal scenery and enables people to connect with nature as we smell and taste the abundance of herbs and plants. The pavilion, built as a sphere, can stand freely in any context and points in a direction of expanding contemporary and shared architecture.

Here are images from the open source design:

The Growroom

The Growroom

The Growroom

Reposted with permission from our media associate True Activist.

Photo credit: Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

By Amanda Froelich

"Chick culling," as it's called, is something the egg industry doesn't like to talk about. And when one learns what the process entails, it's no wonder as to why. Also called "chick disposal," it involves shredding male baby chicks alive as they are deemed to be worthless to the industry because they will not produce eggs when mature. While most commercial chick producers continue to do this (in all countries except Germany) behind closed doors and in secrecy, it seems one producer decided an alternative solution would be more appropriate and left more than 1,000 chicks to die in a field.

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Huffington Post reported that a mass amount of chicks were found dumped in a field in eastern England Friday, causing animal investigators to seek out the source. Inspector Justin Stubbs of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) said he'd "never seen anything like it" and was alerted to the "sea of yellow" birds after passersby contacted him.

Sadly, most were only a day old and had been affected by the frigid temperatures. Stubbs wrote in a statement: "The chicks are only about a day old and are really tiny and quite delicate."

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

By the time of their discovery, some were either already dead or were in such poor condition that they had to be put down. Most, however, "did not appear to be suffering," according to Stubbs.

The chicks were quickly rounded up and put into boxes to keep warm. RSPCA officials are sure that the birds were dropped off by a "third party official" from a nearby commercial chick producer. The investigation is ongoing.

"These tiny birds wouldn't have survived long out on their own at such a young age and in such unpredictable weather conditions," Stubbs added. "For someone to dump these vulnerable chicks is unbelievable."

Watch the video below:

Reposted with permission from our media associate True Activist.

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By Amanda Froelich

When Stefano Boeri Architetti presented the idea of installing a vertical forest in Milan, people were beyond thrilled with the idea. Following the success of that introduction, the architecture firm now seeks to construct something similar, but in Nanjing, China.

Stefano Boeri Architetti

Inhabitat reported that two towers which overlook the Nanjing Pukou District will be completed by the end of 2018. Overflowing with 1,100 trees from 23 local species, as well as 2,500 cascading shrubs and plants, the installation will clean the city's air by producing 132 pounds of oxygen every day. Additionally, passersby and tourists will be greeted with a breathtaking view.

Stefano Boeri Architetti

The buildings, of course, will include more than just plants. The taller tower (656 feet) will hold offices, a museum, a green architecture school and a rooftop club. And in the second tower (354 feet), a 247-room Hyatt hotel will be found, complete with a rooftop swimming pool. Shops, restaurants and a conference hall will also be included in the second building in a podium that will rise 65 feet.

Stefano Boeri Architetti

Because city air is notoriously dirty with pollution, those who stay in the hotel will have the unique opportunity to benefit from the oxygen produced by the plants as well as form a closer bond with nature.

According to Stefano Boeri Architetti, there will be approximately 600 tall trees and 500 medium-sized trees, in addition to the other foliage, that will help regenerate biodiversity in the area.

Stefano Boeri Architetti

The project is being celebrated because it will be the first green tower in all of Asia. Investors are also satisfied with the fact that the conceptualized idea will further modernization efforts in the south of China's Jiangsu province. Because of the potential economic boost the towers will provide, Nanjing Yang Zi State-owned Investment Group Company Limited is promoting the project.

Stefano Boeri Architetti

It may be the first-of-its-kind in China, but the architecture firm intends to build more green towers in Shanghai, Guizhou, Shijiazhuang, Liuzhou and Chongqing.

Reposted with permission from our media associate True Activist.

Nearly six years after the initial explosion caused a catastrophic meltdown at the Daiichi nuclear power plant in the Fukushima prefecture of Japan, the situation has suddenly taken a drastic turn for the worst.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the company which owns and operates the now defunct power plant, announced Thursday that radiation inside the containment vessel of one of the plant's failed reactors has now reached levels undetected since the disaster first occurred in 2011.

Radiation inside the reactor has reached 530 sieverts per hour, a drastic increase from the previously recorded 73 sieverts per hour recorded in the aftermath of the meltdown. The level of radiation is so high that an official of the National Institute of Radiological Sciences told the Japan Times that medical professionals have never considered dealing with this level of radiation in their work.

TEPCO has stated that the cause of the radiation spike is a 2 meter diameter hole inside the bottom grating of the containment vessel. The hole was likely caused by melted fuel.

Images from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant's No. 2 reactor revealed a hole thought to be made by fuel leaking out of the pressure vessel.Nikkei Asian Review

Plans have been made to send a robot into the area to survey the damage as the true extent of the structural damage remains unknown. However, previous attempts to use robots to gauge damage or seal breaches at Fukushima have failed. Several robots were deployed to seal a breach in another containment vessel, which continues to release 300 tons of radioactive water a day into the Pacific Ocean. Due to the high temperatures present, all of the robots were rendered nonfunctional and unable to complete the task.

While TEPCO previously claimed that most of the reactor's nuclear fuel remained contained in the pressure vessel, company spokesman Yuichi Okamura stated that "it's highly possible that melted fuel leaked through."

TEPCO has yet to state the expected impact of the radiation spike or the potential consequences of the nuclear fuel leak. The company is expected to detail its plan for containment and offer more details regarding the impacts of this latest development in the coming week. However, given that TEPCO admitted to "covering up" the impact of the initial disaster with the full complicity of the Japanese government, it remains to be seen if they can be taken at their word.

Reposted with permission from our media associate True Activist.

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By Brianna Acuesta

In an incident that's shockingly similar to what happened one year ago in Argentina, beachgoers pulled a stranded baby dolphin from the water to capture photos of him and take selfies. Unfortunately, the incident resulted in the baby's death, showing that Argentinians did not learning anything from the last time they pulled a baby dolphin from the ocean.

A video that was released this week shows the baby dolphin surrounded by a crowd of people taking photos and videos. The local newspaper, La Nacion, reported that fellow beachgoers said that people had pulled the dolphin from the shallows of the water.

A witness told C5N News, "They let him die. They could have returned him to the ocean, he was breathing, but everyone started taking photos and touching him, saying he was already dead."

A person's first instincts when seeing an animal in need, especially one so young, should be to help them rather than hurt them. Instead of checking to see if the baby had a chance to live, they immediately yanked him from his home and he died while extremely stressed from the situation.

It's unclear if the baby was sick before humans spotted him, which would explain why he found himself stranded, but what's indisputable is that the humans involved inadvertently participated in his death by not helping him.

Last year, beachgoers pulled two baby dolphins out of the water for selfies, resulting in the death of one and people everywhere were outraged. This outrage, apparently, had little to no effect on the people that repeated this sad act all over again.

Humans have the unique ability to feel empathy, but it is their selfish nature that causes them to often forget to help others. In this situation, the humans did not even think to save the allegedly dying dolphin because they were so absorbed in getting the perfect picture for social media. Meanwhile, dogs around the world have made news for spotting dolphins in need and springing into action to help.

Watch the video below to see the baby dolphin.

Reposted with permission from our media associate True Activist.

Photo credit: Lloyd Fox

In an unforeseen move by the famous circus, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey owners have decided to shut down "The Greatest Show On Earth" forever after plummeting ticket sales no longer allowed the show to be viable.

Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, which owns Ringling Bros., announced the closure to performers on Saturday night before releasing a statement explaining the reason for their decision, which he has said is hard for him and his family.

Stockpiling Moms

When the group announced last year that they would be ending the use of elephants in their shows it seemed to be a great opportunity for growth again because animal advocates might no longer boycott the show. However, what the entertainment group found was quite the opposite. Juliette Feld, Kenneth's daughter and the company's chief operating officer, said:

"We know now that one of the major reasons people came to Ringling Bros. was getting to see elephants. We stand by that decision. We know it was the right decision. This was what audiences wanted to see and it definitely played a major role."

Ironically, getting rid of the elephants wound up being worse for the circus than anything else. Feld Entertainment did make the right decision with the elephants, but their existing animal "performers" continued to suffer, which may have caused animal advocates to steer clear even after the elephants left. Those remaining animals, including lions, tigers, camels, donkeys, alpacas, kangaroos and llamas, will apparently be sent to "suitable" homes while the elephants will stay at their Center for Elephants Conservation.

According to the company, they tried a number of methods to keep the show relevant and appealing to the modern public to no avail. An interactive app was developed, the first female ringmaster was hired and other popular elements of their successful shows, such as motorbike daredevils, were incorporated to keep the show fresh. Nothing significantly improved attendance or interest in the show, whose sales have been declining in the last 10 years.

The show will officially close in May after another 30 or so shows in major cities. The decision was based on a combination of issues, including high operating costs and changing public tastes. Approximately 500 people perform and work on both touring shows for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey and most will be out of a job after the show performs its last show. Some performers will be used in other profitable shows that the entertainment group manages, like Monster Jam and Disney on Ice. Thankfully, they will help with housing relocation for the workers that lived strictly on the rail cars that transported the performers and crew.

Reposted with permission from our media associate True Activist.

By Amanda Froelich

According to a new report by SeaWorld, Tilikum—the infamous killer whale involved in the deaths of three people—died today. The well-known orca, thought to be about 35-years-old, was the focus of the 2013 documentary "Blackfish," which criticizes the marine park for keeping killer whales and other aquatic wildlife in conditions deemed to be less-than-ideal.

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