Friday, May 22, 2015
In an effort to expand awareness of the importance of diversity in the workplace – as well as solar energy’s growing contributions to the economy and environment – the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has become one of the first national trade associations to feature a Spanish-language section on its website.
An Español click-through button is now located just below SEIA’s logo on its home page banner. Among other things, the new Spanish-language section will include a Solar 101 tutorial, information about the solar industry’s diversity efforts and how solar has become one of the fastest-growing industries in America.
According to the Pew Research Center, Spanish is far and away the most spoken non-English language in the United States. Today, nearly 40 million people 5-years and older speak Spanish – and that number is expected to grow significantly by 2020, according to U.S. Census Bureau projections.
Today, the U.S. solar energy industry is doing a good job when it comes to employing a diverse workforce. But in the future, we want to do a great job. Many of our companies and groups, like GRID Alternatives, are ramping up their training and recruitment opportunities to increase attention to the importance of gender and ethnic diversity in the solar workplace. We believe SEIA’s new Spanish-language section will help us to accomplish our goals.
According to The Solar Foundation’s 2014 Jobs Census, solar workers are increasingly diverse.
“Demographic groups such as Latino/Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and African American, along with women and veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces now represent a larger percentage of the solar workforce than was observed in 2013. These higher percentages, coupled with overall growth in solar employment, means workers from these groups are growing in number as well as percentage of the workforce,” the report stated.
Women account for more than 37,500 solar workers across America – 21.6 percent of the industry’s total workforce – while Latinos and Hispanics make up 16.3 percent.
Today, the U.S. solar industry employs 174,000 Americans nationwide – more than tech giants Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter combined – and pumps nearly $18 billion a year into our economy. Solar energy’s rapid growth is due, in large part, to smart and effective public policies, such as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Net Energy Metering (NEM) and Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). By any measurement, these policies are paying huge dividends for both the U.S. economy as well as for our environment.