SOLV Energy and Solar Energy International (SEI) announced today their partnership to create the SEI Women in Solar program to empower women and non-binary people from all over the world through solar energy training, networking, mentorship, and clean energy employer / job connections.
The goal of this program is to create a global network of women and non-binary people who are considering career pathways in the clean energy sector and to support solar professionals actively working in the industry who want to take their careers to the next level. The program consists of free access to the SEI Women in Solar Online Community for career resources and networking, a mentorship webinar series, and scholarships for SEI’s tuition based online courses and annual SEI Women in Solar Hands-on Lab Week.
In SEI’s 30+ years of educational service to the clean energy sector, we have served tens of thousands of women worldwide. Elizabeth Sanderson, SEI Executive Director said, “As an organization, we take pride in having one of the largest teams of women instructors, curriculum developers, staff members, and women in leadership of any solar training provider in the industry. With that said, there is still a lot of work to be done.”
The SOLV partnership allows SEI the ability to develop more training opportunities with new pathways to the many different types of jobs in the solar industry.
The solar industry offers many job opportunities, ranging from sales and finance, to design and engineering, and other knowledge-based positions in addition to the jobs that are in the field. Since the beginning of the deployment of residential, commercial, and utility scale solar, women have played vital roles in the physically-demanding installation aspect of the solar industry. These solar pioneers include many women in leadership roles doing the knowledge work required for the industry to thrive and grow.
According to the National Solar Job Census, women represent just under 30% of the solar workforce in 2020. Non-binary people represent 2% of the solar workforce. Other data highlights the gender disparities that exist: only 28% of women in the solar industry hold manager, director, or president-level positions, and the differences are even more stark for women of color.
A McKinsey & Company’s 2020 Women in the Workplace report found that white women in corporate America hold 23% of senior vice president roles and 19% of c-suite roles, compared to women of color at 5% and 3% respectively.
Women of color in the solar industry report that they often have to prove their competence, and that they face challenges connecting to those in charge of hiring decisions. Data from the industry’s diversity study reflects this trend—three of the top five recruitment methods used by study respondents relied on personal and professional networks to fill open positions. SEI’s Women in Solar strives to build a diverse, equitable, and inclusive clean energy workforce by offering programs and services to help empower these underserved and marginalized communities of women.
"Advancing equity and inclusion on our teams builds innovative, more resilient companies and a stronger solar industry," said Jennifer Hershman, Director of Community Relations for SOLV Energy. "There are incredible career opportunities for women from all backgrounds and experiences in solar, and SOLV Energy is happy to partner with SEI to help open up the doors to our industry to a more diverse workforce."
For more information visit SEI’s Women in Solar Program at: http://www.solarenergy.org/women-in-solar-program/