Spurred by new annual statistics that show women in the U.S. solar industry earning 74¢ on the dollar compared to men, and the sector’s executive teams clocking in at 88% white and 80% male, the Solar Foundation and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) have released a best practices manual and launched a social media challenge.
The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census from 2018 found that the work force was only 17% Hispanic or Latino/Latina, 9% Asian, and 8% African American, CleanTechnica reports. It also cited the industry’s reliance on personal and professional networks for hiring as a factor that limits the diversity of its recruitment pool.
“It’s imperative that we take proactive steps to advance these issues, because it isn’t going to happen on its own,” said SEIA President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper.
“Given the importance of the solar industry in building the energy infrastructure that is needed to confront the challenge of climate change, the solar industry has a tremendous opportunity to serve as a diversity and inclusion work force model for the wider economy,” added Solar Foundation President and Executive Director Andrea Luecke.
Scott Wiater, president and CEO of Standard Solar, praised the two organizations’ commitment to action. “While the industry is working hard toward expanding into all communities, studies like this highlight where the gaps are so we can do a better job of filling them,” he said. “Over time, we hope our industry work force will be as diverse as our world, and studies like this will help us get there.”