Solar Energy International (SEI) and SOLV Energy announced that the two companies have formed a partnership aimed at creating a global network of women who are considering careers in clean energy and supporting female solar professionals actively working in the industry.
The SEI Women in Solar program consists of training, networking, mentorship, and clean energy employer and job connections, all with the goal of empowering women to join the clean energy sector and advance the careers and influence of women already working in the sector. Within the program, SEI is offering participants 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.
According to SEI, the partnership with SOLV was pursued in order to develop more training opportunities with new pathways to the many different types of jobs in the solar industry.
“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,” said Elizabeth Sanderson, SEI’s executive director. “With that said, there is still a lot of work to be done.”
A 2021 survey of over 400 respondents in the U.S. solar industry from renewable energy recruitment company RO showed a 10% pay gap between men and women who worked in the same role and offered the same experience, up from 6% in 2020.
According to the most recent edition of the National Solar Job Census, with data current to the end of 2020, women represent just under 30% of the solar workforce, though that number is up from 26% in 2019. However, while data points to the number of women working in solar growing, it also shows that gender disparities still exist in the industry, as only 28% of women in the solar industry hold manager, director, or president-level positions, with SEI referencing McKinsey & Company’s 2020 Women in the Workplace report, which shows that the differences are even more stark for women of color.
That 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.
“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.”
More information on SEI’s Women in Solar program is available here.
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