Women 24 percent of solar workforce; diversity still lacking

Becky Motal

shutterstock_solar_jobs_kstudijaThere are nearly 50,000 women working in U.S. solar jobs of all types, the Solar Foundation reports, accounting for nearly a quarter of the workforce in the sector. That’s an improvement, but the statistic also belies a broader lack of diversity.

Many think tanks, academics and activists have pointed to a green jobs gap in solar and other clean technologies, where economic gains linked to renewable energy go mainly to white men. Take solar installer demographics as an example of that criticism.

Women account for 21 perent of solar installers, which pencils out to 25,305 jobs. African Americans hold 5,877 solar installation jobs (5 percent), while Latinos hold 16,191 of those jobs (13 percent) — roughly on par with minority representation in oil and gas extraction jobs.

“The industry has made numerous proclamations that they intend to be more diverse,” Luecken said. “Compared with other energy sectors, we’re doing OK. Compared with the overall economy, we have a lot of work to do.”

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