Within its own organization and through original research conducted by The Solar Foundation on the U.S. solar industry, women are underrepresented in leadership positions.
Though the number of women on staff has grown four-fold since 2012, many of those women occupy junior-level positions within the organization. This trend is reflected in the U.S. solar industry more broadly.
In early 2019, The Solar Foundation created a mentorship program designed to connect junior team members with director-level staff to share experiences and discuss strategies for the junior staff to advance in their careers. This program is open to both men and women.
Each month, participating junior staff schedule a lunch meeting with their mentor to discuss topics of the junior staff member’s choice. Senior level staff coordinating the program provide monthly digests of news articles or other suggested topics if those receiving mentorship need inspiration for subject matter to discuss.
Since the mentorship program began, 60% of junior staff at The Solar Foundation have opted to participate. Two-thirds of participants in the mentorship program are women.
In 2017, we released the first comprehensive report on diversity and inclusion in the U.S. solar workforce. What we found was that like other energy sectors, the solar industry has a long way to go in order to provide equal opportunities for women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and veterans. As a mission-driven nonprofit, it’s our responsibility to set the same standards for our organization as we do for the solar industry. That’s why we’ve made a commitment to diversity and inclusion within our board, leadership team, and staff, which will strengthen the organization and help us better reflect the communities we serve.