How do we make the solar industry great for workers?

400,000 solar jobs by 2030 and 900,000 by 2035; that’s what the Interstate Renewable Energy Council says the US is on track to achieve over the coming years as renewable energy continues to experience historic growth in the efforts to fight the climate crisis. At GRID Alternatives, we’re proud to be part of this growing industry and workforce, from rooftop jobsites to the boardroom, providing pathways to careers in clean energy. We know this growth is good for the economy and imperative for the climate, but how do we make it great for workers? 

As the clean energy industry grows, it’s critical that environmental and social justice remains at the forefront of our efforts, including continued action to integrate diversity, equity and inclusion into hiring practices and organizational culture, at all levels. While gender and racial diversity has grown over the last several years within the solar industry, we continue to acknowledge that solar workers are people, not numbers and that Black, brown, indigenous, people of color, women and folks who identify as non-binary, still face discriminatory workplaces. 

But that doesn’t have to be the case. Workplaces that prioritize cultures of inclusivity lead to a sense of belonging in a career, and given the scale of the challenge, we need everyone on board. Senior Workforce Operations Manager Lauren Friedman explains GRID’s approach, “our end goal is that once trainees are hired into roles, that they have a positive experience, they are retained by the company, and they have an opportunity to grow and advance in their career.” 

At GRID, we are committed to serving diverse populations who have been historically underrepresented in the solar industry. Equity, inclusion, and diversity are at the heart of our hard skills training for solar job seekers as well as our programming for employer partners looking to hire from our communities. Internally, we model the commitment to diversity that we ask of employer partners by implementing equity, inclusion and diversity trainings, forums for honest and anonymous feedback, staff-led and -supported affinity groups, programs like Women in Solar, and continued work with coaches, facilitators and outside experts.

"At the national level I am glad to see GRID’s continued integration and commitment to equity, inclusion, and diversity work, not just separate but as a direct integration into our everyday work," says Adewale OgunBadejo, Vice President of Workforce Development. "I believe that the intentionality of our work is what makes our organization so unique and separates us from the others." 

There are many reasons to join the clean energy industry and when you’re ready to make a move, we hope you’ll consider GRID Alternatives.