There aren’t that many “Rosie the Riveters” on rooftops installing solar these days but that may change. Grid Alternatives and SunEdison announced earlier this year that they were partnering to help bring more women into the solar industry and today (April 25) they’re launching the new initiative with an all-woman installation crew installing two rooftop solar panels on low-income homes in Denver.
Maggie Fox, former CEO of the Climate Reality Project and wife of U.S. Senator Mark Udall (D), and SunEdison’s Vice President of Marketing Dawn Brister as well as students from Red Rocks Community College, Colorado Mountain College, Ecotech Institute and other female solar executives were at the event. The arrays being installed on the two homes are anticipated to save the families about $58,000 in energy costs over the life of the system and result in a reduction of carbon emissions by 209 tons, according to SunEdison.
When they announced the Grid Alternatives National Women in Solar Initiative, SunEdison donated $1.2 million to support the effort to train women in solar and help them advance their professional careers. "Taking this step to create and advance the Women in Solar Initiative is not only the right thing to do, it is a smart business investment," said Ahmad Chatila, CEO of SunEdison, when the initiative was launched. "The continued success of the solar industry depends on recruiting and nurturing the best and brightest people, and this initiative is going to help do exactly that."
Under the initiative Grid Alternatives plans to provide training and real-world solar installer experience to more than 1,000 women across the U.S. The non-profit organization will provide provide 20 women with one-year paid fellowships to work in the solar industry. In addition it plans to host a series of women-powered solar installation events and other networking opportunities across the U.S. for both current women executives and up-and-coming professional women looking to advance in the solar industry.
"GRID Alternatives' volunteer model provides women a pathway to access a variety of careers in an industry that added jobs at a rate of 20 percent last year," said Erica Mackie, co-founder and CEO of GRID Alternatives. "Women's talents and voices will be critical to the solar industry's continued growth, and we are thrilled to be partnering with SunEdison to increase their participation in this field."Tweet