A growing number of women work in the solar industry, but they still account for less than a third of solar jobs.
To prepare more women for employment in the industry, the national nonprofit Grid Alternatives runs free training programs and, before the pandemic, partnered on annual women-only solar builds.
In 2019, almost a hundred women installed a large solar array on a mixed-income apartment building in Denver.
“Some had extensive experience. … Some women had no experience whatsoever,” says Adrienne Dorsey of Grid Alternatives Colorado, the chapter that hosted the build. “And it created this safe space of, you can ask questions and not be judged, or you’re learning from another woman how to do this.”
President Biden has set a goal for the U.S. to be powered by 100% clean electricity within 15 years. Meeting that target would require hundreds of thousands more people to join the solar workforce.
So Dorsey says creating inclusive spaces to learn and train can help ensure that the growing industry is open to everyone.
“Creating pathways for everybody to be a part of it is what’s necessary to actually happen if we’re going to hit these goals and really effectively mitigate climate change,” she says.
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media