Since the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) launched the first-of-its-kind Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ) Certification Program, 34 leading solar companies have enrolled in the program and 13 have achieved Bronze- or Silver-level certification.
Companies that have achieved certification are using the program to strengthen internal DEIJ practices, create new programs, and develop policies that foster stronger and more inclusive workplaces. The activities range from adjusting recruitment and hiring procedures to establishing and evaluating supplier diversity programs. The DEIJ Certification program empowers companies of all sizes to take ownership of their diversity work and helps them implement evidence-based solutions.
"Companies large and small now have a tool available that will help them benchmark their DEIJ work and then take effective next steps," said Erika Symmonds, SEIA's vice president of equity and workforce development. "The solar and storage industry will add hundreds of thousands of workers over the next decade, and the dozens of companies that are using this program are making efforts that help our industry promote a new era of equitable clean energy growth."
Project developer Encore Renewable Energy reached Bronze certification in February, and the firm used its participation as an opportunity to review its parental leave policy. After considering ways to ensure it was more inclusive and equitable, Encore expanded an already strong policy to provide 12 weeks of paid parental leave for both parents.
"As a values-led company, our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice is an ongoing effort, and with our newly expanded leave policy, we're proud to increase our support for team members during this extremely important time for their families," said Chad Farrell, founder and CEO of Encore Renewable Energy. "Going forward, we will continue to evaluate and improve different policies across our company and appreciate SEIA's valuable leadership to help guide this process in a meaningful way."
The companies enrolled in the program span all market segments and industry sectors and include project developers, manufacturers, financiers, engineering firms, and nonprofits. The companies range in size from small firms of 10 to 50 employees to businesses with hundreds of employees. As enrollment grows, SEIA is able to track, aggregate, and share annual progress on numerous DEIJ-specific metrics.
"Longroad Energy appreciates having a robust, third-party validation program that offers us feedback and guidance on our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and confirms the value of our work," said Meghan Hornberger, director of DEI at Longroad Energy. "The certification program also serves to demonstrate our strong DEI commitment to our employees, business partners and the communities in which we work. SEIA's award-winning program is an excellent industry resource and Longroad Energy is thrilled to earn a Silver Certification in our first year of undertaking our DEI initiative."
Longroad Energy had established DEIJ initiatives in place prior to using the Certification Program, helping the company reach Silver certification. Through its engagement with the tool, Longroad is taking additional steps forward by forming Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). The ERGs will help cultivate a more inclusive work culture by creating spaces for employees to support one another and have candid conversations about the challenges they are facing.
SEIA will use this information to discover the areas where companies are excelling, and the roadblocks preventing companies from making progress.
"The solar and storage industry must and will continue to make progress and grow our efforts around diversity and inclusion, and I'm so glad to see more companies taking ownership of this important work," Symmonds added."These company-level actions on equity are critical as we strive to make the solar and storage industry a more welcoming place that uplifts people of all backgrounds. All solar and storage companies have a role to play, and I challenge them to join us as we build a more equitable clean energy economy. Let's put in the work."
Companies that have achieved Silver certification include:
Companies that have achieved Bronze certification include:
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