In May 2019, The Solar Foundation will release the next edition of the U.S. Solar Industry Diversity Study, in partnership with the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). This updated study will take a comprehensive look at diversity and inclusion in the U.S. solar industry, including the representation of women, people of color, and veterans.

Based on a survey of hundreds of solar employers and employees, this report will provide the latest data on progress the industry has made and the work that remains to be done. It will include information on career paths, wages, and company practices related to diversity and inclusion. The report will feature an in-depth discussion of women of color in the solar industry, as well as representative case studies of solar employees and companies.

This report is a follow up to the first U.S. Solar Industry Diversity Study released in 2017.  It also builds on the research in our National Solar Jobs Census, which each year tracks demographic information on women, people of color, and veterans in the solar workforce.

The new report will be released on May 6 at an event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Please check back for further details, or contact us if you would like more information.

Thanks to Our Sponsors

The Solar Foundation extends its gratitude to the sponsors of the U.S. Solar Industry Diversity Study in 2019. Without your support, this work would not be possible. A special thanks to Melanie Santiago-Mosier, Access & Equity Director at Vote Solar, who is supporting the study with her prize money from a U.S. Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) award.

Gold Sponsors: McCarthy Building Companies; Sierra Club; Smart Electric Power Alliance; Solar Energy Industries Association; Swinerton Renewable Energy

Silver Sponsors: GRID Alternatives; Sunfolding; Standard Solar; Sunrun; Unirac

Bronze Sponsors: CleanChoice Energy; E2 Energy Services; Nautilus; New Mexico Department of Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources; Sigora Solar; Southern Current; sPower; Sunnova; Vote Solar; Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy

 

The Solar Foundation’s 2017 U.S. Solar Industry Diversity Study is the first comprehensive research on diversity in the solar workforce, including the representation of women, minority groups, and veterans. This study is the result of surveys and interviews conducted with both solar employers and employees.

Download the full report now.

Download the infographic — Web / Print

Read the Press Release

Our study found that women and people of color face significant hurdles to achieving equal pay and positions in the solar industry, with women of color struggling the most. This report underscores the importance of diversity for employee well-being, the strength of the workforce, and a company’s bottom line.

This study builds on the findings in the National Solar Jobs Census 2016, which found that 28% of the nation’s 260,000 solar workers are women, an increase of four percentage points from 2015. People of color still comprise relatively small percentage of the solar workforce: 17% are Hispanic or Latino, 7% are African American, and 9% are Asian.

Key findings in this new study include:

  • Men are significantly more likely to earn wages that fall in the highest wage bracket of $75 or more per hour. 36% of white male respondents earn salaries in this wage bracket, compared to 28% of men of color, 21% of white women, and only 4% of women of color.
  • Only 8% of African Americans indicated that they are “very satisfied” with their wage and position, and 42% indicated they are “not at all satisfied.” For comparison, 52% of white respondents said that they are “very satisfied” and only 6% said they are “not at all satisfied.”
  • Only 8% of African American respondents feel they have successfully moved up the career ladder, and 50% think they have not been successful in moving up in their careers and feel stuck in their current positions.
  • Just over a quarter of solar employers formally track employee demographics and diversity, and only one in 10 companies (11.5%) has implemented a strategy to increase the representation of veterans.
  • Women are less likely to serve as mentors or sponsors for their colleagues. 62% of men responded that they have served as mentors or sponsors, versus 38% of women.

This study includes five action items that solar companies can implement over the next year to improve diversity. They include creating company-wide diversity pledges, establishing a formal diversity tracking and measurement tool, broadening recruitment efforts, implementing a blind job application process, and establishing diversity training programs.

This study was published by The Solar Foundation and is an initiative of the Women’s Empowerment Committee at the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Thank you for your interest in The Solar Foundation’s research. To download this paper, please complete the form below.

Please send me occasional updates on The Solar Foundation’s new research, programs, and events.

 Read the full study here.

We’d like to thank the many company sponsors and individual donors who have made this study possible. 

Sponsorship Level: Leader

 

Sponsorship Level: Champion

 

Sponsorship Level: Ally

 

Sponsorship Level: Promotions

Sponsorship Level: Friend

Julie Arnold, Evelyn M Butler, Pamela Cargill, Meghan Craig, Tenley Dalstrom, Jennifer DeCesaro, Sarah Farnham, Rosana Francescato, Kristen M Graf, Jennifer Hall, Jerry Henderson, Kendra Hubbard, Michelle Hughes, Pari Kasotia, Colin Leffler, Adam Lerman, Suzanne Liou, Andrea Luecke, Caitlin McLaughlin, Debbie Menashe, Robert Ragan, Elizabeth Schulte, Ann Siqveland, Laura Stern, Aimee M Tuck, Leah Wilkinson, Glenna Wiseman, Diane Wolfe, Kyle Woodard, Teresa Zhang

Testimonials

“Diversity and inclusion are driving factors of a great place to work.  The efforts the Solar Foundation leads such as the U.S. Solar Industry Diversity Study allow us to benchmark our efforts to create a diverse workforce and improvement year over year. This type of information wouldn’t be available otherwise and is a valuable resource.”

Robert Ed, Senior Marketing Manager, Solar & Emerging Renewables Operating Group at Mortenson