Women in Solar – A Growing Force Fights for Diversity

Last month we wrote about the explosive job growth in the solar industry. As the field continues to grow, the question must be asked: are we embracing and encouraging the development of a diverse solar workforce? On February 23, 2016, the second annual #nationWISE event, taking place at venues throughout the country, will address that very question.

Organized by the national non-profit Women In Solar Energy (WISE), #nationWISE is a multi-city roundtable discussion that focuses on the development of the solar industry and its workforce in local markets spanning the nation. This year’s #nationWISE is the 2nd annual event with 16 unique gatherings planned, including two in the Southeast region that SACE staffers will be participating in: Atlanta and Fort Lauderdale. As Kacie Peters, one of the board members for WISE stated in her post about #nationWISE, “Every local market has unique opportunities for growth, and women need to be part of that growth.”  This is certainly true in the Southeast, and we look forward to being part of the conversation.

According to the latest data from The Solar Foundation, the solar industry is off to a great start in embodying more diversity than many other industries. That said, there is still work to be done. Specifically focusing on gender diversity, women currently represent 24% of the solar workforce, a 2% increase from 2014. One of the ways that #nationWISE addresses this gender unbalance is by facilitating conversation on the topic, open to both men and women, and by allowing the various city hosts to reflect the issues at hand in that specific market.

The Florida #nationWISE event taking place in Fort Lauderdale, for example, will focus on the distinct challenges and opportunities that solar has and is facing in the Sunshine State. It’s a discussion that SACE has been very active in, especially over the last year as members of the Floridians for Solar Choice campaign, and it’s a discussion that has garnered national attention. One way the Fort Lauderdale event will be different from others is that a film crew from National Geographic is scheduled to film the gathering, with correspondent Cecily Strong, as part of their documentary series “Years of Living Dangerously” set to air November, 2016.

For more information, and to RSVP, visit solwomen.org/round-table-2016

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