As renewable energy grows, solar jobs are on the rise – with opportunities ranging from installers to sales and management. Kerene Tayloe is with the nonprofit WE ACT for Environmental Justice.
“There are a lot of opportunities in the solar industry,” she says. “But what we’re seeing, unfortunately, is that the diversity of the industry is not reflective of our society.”
A recent report from the Solar Foundation shows that women make up only about a quarter of the solar workforce, and senior executives are overwhelmingly white. But the same report finds that a growing number of companies are working to increase the representation of women and people of color.
Tayloe says, for example, solar firms can partner with historically black colleges and universities to offer internships. She says environmental justice organizations are also working to promote diversity. In New York, WE ACT provides solar job training and requires installers for its projects to hire some local trainees.
Tayloe says as more people gain access to solar energy, “not only do we want to see people of color have the benefits of reduced bills and also reducing our carbon footprint, but we want them to also be able to benefit from the economic opportunities as well.”