As an industry grows, companies owned by White men tend to profit most.
“Folks with more resources, longer histories of wealth, and larger networks are able to tap into industries more quickly and take up lots of market share,” says Erika Symmonds, vice president of equity and workforce development at the Solar Energy Industries Association.
Her group wants to make sure that as the demand for solar grows, history does not repeat itself.
“Who owns the businesses, who gets to take advantage of the wealth-building opportunities of this industry is super important,” she says.
So to promote diversity in the industry, her association created a free online database of companies working in solar that are owned by women, veterans, and minorities, including Black and Brown people and members of LGBTQ+ communities.
The database makes it easier to find and hire these companies.
And Symmonds’s group provides businesses in the database with information about networking and other opportunities.
“We have an unprecedented opportunity to welcome more diverse voices into the industry,” she says.
So the transition to clean energy can also be part of a transition to a more equitable economy.
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media