2021 was a report 12 months for photo voltaic installations and with the current passage of the Inflation Discount Act, these numbers are projected to develop astronomically. A current report from the Photo voltaic Vitality Industries Affiliation (SEIA) and Wooden Mackenzie tasks photo voltaic installations to extend from 129 GW to 336 GW throughout the subsequent 5 years. With this rising demand comes the necessity for a certified photo voltaic workforce however what steps will the photo voltaic trade take to make sure these jobs are numerous, equitable and finally accessible for all?
Photo voltaic jobs elevated by 9% nationwide from 2020 to 2021. However The Interstate Renewable Vitality Council’s (IREC) Nationwide Photo voltaic Jobs Census uncovered some alarming stats. For starters, the census discovered that ladies made up slightly below 30% of the photo voltaic workforce in 2021. Sadly, the dearth of range didn’t cease there. Black staff made up solely 8% of the photo voltaic labor pool, Hispanic employees made up 20% and Asian employees at simply 9%. The necessity for a various workers carries many advantages together with distinctive views, experiences and concepts. It’s the duty of photo voltaic firms throughout the U.S. to deliver this very best workforce to life.
Because the longest-standing photo voltaic firm within the U.S., SunPower takes this position severely. In September 2021, we introduced our 25×25 initiative, a collection of commitments towards increasing extra renewable vitality entry to marginalized communities. These commitments embody three key targets, together with a plan to diversify the photo voltaic workforce:
- Guarantee trade fairness: 25% of the sellers, contractors and subcontractors SunPower works with are owned by girls and other people of shade.
- Broaden entry for purchasers: 25% of SunPower’s new U.S. residential clients in 2025 are made up of people that stay in deprived communities.
- Enhance workforce range: 40% of SunPower’s workforce is represented by girls; 25% of our workforce is represented by Black and Hispanic/Latinx folks.
Now a 12 months into our pledge, we’ve made some strides. SunPower is actively working with organizations to assist us meet our objectives. Most notably, we’ve aligned with McKinsey & Firm, Nationwide Affiliation of Ladies Enterprise Homeowners, Grid Options and Photo voltaic Vitality Worldwide (SEI) to assist us interact, retain and prepare extra girls for careers in photo voltaic vitality.
To jumpstart this specific initiative, we awarded $100,000 to Grid Options and Photo voltaic Vitality Worldwide by way of the SunPower Basis to assist photo voltaic coaching applications for girls. The hope is that extra girls may have entry to jobs out within the discipline reminiscent of photo voltaic set up or electrical work. SunPower additionally participated in a job honest hosted by GRID Options and Ladies of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Vitality (WRISE) throughout RE+ to get in entrance of latest candidates.
Starting subsequent month, a pilot management growth program with McKinsey & Firm is kicking off for girls and minorities in administration positions.
At SunPower, we imagine that the advantages of solar energy must be accessible to all. We’re constantly working to construct extra range, fairness and inclusion into our firm DNA as a result of solely collectively can we modify the best way our world is powered.