At MnSEIA, we believe that a diverse solar workforce creates a more resilient industry. We encourage our member companies, and other solar organizations in Minnesota, to support equitable and inclusive hiring policies to attract and retain a diverse set of employees in their managerial positions, installer workforce, supplier relations, and other partners. As we work towards a transition to a clean economy, to whatever extent we are able, we must make it a just and fair transition that includes everyone. We hope that solar energy is not only manufactured, sold, and installed by a more diverse workforce but is also accessible to more people, regardless of income or zip code. MnSEIA is working towards this goal with legislative initiatives such as funding for Solar on Schools and Xcel Energy's Solar Rewards low-income program, however, the work is far from over. We are looking inwards with a mind towards self-improvement and will continue to reflect on how we can play a greater role in a more equitable solar industry.
Below are readings and resources that we think are a good start for your company to educate yourselves on improving your diversity policies and eliminating racism and biases at work. We have also listed solar-related organizations you can learn more about and partner with, as well as other ways to support. We will continue to add to these lists and educate ourselves.
Solar Specific Articles and Resources:
- "CEO of residential solar installer survived gangs and prison, only to face structural racism in his career path" a spotlight by PV Magazine of one man's experience with racism in the solar industry
- "Clean energy inequity can be addressed with data, coordination and policy change at a local level" an article on how communities of color benefit less from clean energy
- "Clean energy programs can help address some racial disparities, advocates say" an article by Midwest Energy News
- "Did I Mention I'm a Solar Installer?" an op-ed on being a woman in the solar industry by a solar veteran and company founder
- "Diversity Best Practices Guide for the Solar Industry" a guide by SEIA and The Solar Foundation
- "Energy Access and Environmental Justice For Native American Households" a blog post by New Energy Equity
- "Inside Clean Energy: The Racial Inequity in Clean Energy and How to Fight It" an important read by Inside Climate News
- "In Pursuit of Gender Diversity in the PV Sector" a Forbes Council post by solar company Sonnedix
- "Meet the woman behind the first Black-owned community solar energy company" an article by Black Enterprise
- On-Demand Webinar by GRID Alternatives: Addressing Systemic Racism Through Meaningful Workforce Investments
- On-Demand Webinar by Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy (WRISE): "Find Her Keep Her: Recruiting and Retaining Women across Renewable Energy"
- "One size does not fit all female residential solar adopters" an opinion piece by PV Magazine on the solar marketing gender gap
- "Racial Equity in Clean Energy Should be a Key Differentiator for the Industry" an article by PV Magazine
- SEIA Supplier Diversity Guide: Available for national SEIA members, this resource helps track the demographic diversity of solar suppliers
- "Solar training programs aim to open doors for former prison inmates" an article by Energy News Network
- "Texas contractor gives deaf installers opportunities to shine" an article by Solar Power World
- "We Too Must Improve': Clean Energy Industry Looks Into Mirror on Racial Inequality" a must-read article by Greentech Media
Articles on Improving the Diversity Policy and Eliminating Racism in Your Workplace:
- "Diversity and Inclusion: A Beginner's Guide for HR Professionals" an article by Ideal
- "Diversity hiring: 6 steps to hiring more diverse candidates" tips by Ideal
- “How to Develop a Diversity and Inclusion Initiative” an article by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM).
- “How to Implement Diversity and Inclusion at Your Small Business” tips by CompTIA.
- “How Can You Change the Diversity and Inclusion Status Quo at Your Company?” 4 steps to improve your company’s diversity policy by Business.com.
- "The Bias of 'Professionalism' Standards" an article by the Stanford Social Innovation Review
- "The Day-to-Day Work of Diversity and Inclusion" a Q&A by the Harvard Business Review
- "Towards a Racially Just Workplace" by the Harvard Business Review
- "Taking Steps to Eliminate Racism in the Workplace" by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
- "U.S Businesses Must Take Meaningful Action Against Racism" an article by the Harvard Business Review.
- Harvard’s Implicit Association Test (IAT): This project includes many different tests you and your employees can take, including one about race, that aims to educate about hidden biases by measuring attitudes and beliefs people may be unable to or unwilling to report. It’s a good place to start to understand underlying biases.
- Consider joining David Shaffer in signing the I ACT ON pledge, a personal pledge that any individual can take to help drive inclusive behavior in everyday life. CEOs can also sign the CEO pledge to act on supporting more inclusive workplaces.
- On-Demand Webinar: "What Leaders Must Do Today to Address Systemic Racism" by the Harvard Business Review
Job Boards to Hire Diverse Candidates:
- Black Career Network
- Diversity Working
- Professional Diversity Network
- 70 Million Jobs: Helping connect people with criminal records to hiring companies.
Another option is Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) job boards, which are used to help connect HBCU students and alumni with employers from across the U.S.
- Check out this list of black-owned businesses in the Twin Cities to support now and in the future.
GRID Alternatives is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit focused on making renewable energy technology and training available for underserved communities. While GRID Alternatives does not have offices in the Midwest, you can join their job board to hire their trainees, donate, become a member, or partner with them.
This organization is doing amazing and important work to diversify the solar industry and help make clean energy available to more people. If you have offices or projects in California, Colorado, or the Mid-Atlantic region this would be a great organization to partner with.
The Just Solar Coalition is a diverse coalition of Minnesota-based solar developers, community organizers, environmental groups, thought leaders, financiers, and much more that have a vision of 100% access to the benefits of clean energy and a just transition towards a green economy.
Du Nord Riot Recovery Fund. Shanelle Montana (who previously worked at member company EDF Renewables and served on the MnSEIA Board) and her husband have helped establish a fund for black and brown companies that have been impacted by the recent riots.