Diversity Best Practices Guide for the Solar IndustryThis guide was produced by the Solar Energy Industries Association and The Solar Foundation as a companion to the 2019 Solar Industry Diversity Study.
Solar embodies American values — it gives us choice, independence and democratization of energy. That’s why it’s critical that we make solar jobs and solar energy available and accessible to all Americans.
We define diversity as the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other differing backgrounds or perspectives. Another way to define diversity is otherness — those human qualities that are different from our own and outside the groups to which we belong, yet present in other individuals and groups.
We produced this guide because we want our members and others to be informed by best practices, and we want to demonstrate the commitment that’s required to truly become more diverse. And diverse organizations are more successful. Multiple studies have shown that more diverse and inclusive companies are more profitable and more innovative with better opportunities for new ideas. Improving diversity is not just the right thing to do, it’s also a smart business decision.
While the first goal is to build a more diverse workforce, we must also build systems that support these efforts. This is the essence of inclusion — which can be defined as the practice of ensuring that through their work in organizations, people feel they belong, are engaged, valued, and connected to the goals and objectives of the organization.
We’ve taken a number of steps to foster diversity and inclusion. We’ve continued tracking our workforce diversity through a second Diversity Study. We also launched an education series on Diversity & Inclusion this year, formed partnerships with organizations such as the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Community Development Action Coalition to increase the solar industry’s recruitment of African-American students, and recruited solar companies to sign the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion Pledge.
Building this workforce will not happen on its own; it will take a sustained and conscious effort by our industry. We’ve made progress, but we have a long way to go.