SunEdison, Inc. and the SunEdison Foundation have announced a $1.2 million philanthropic partnership with GRID Alternatives, a large non-profit solar installer. Together the organizations are launching a National Women in Solar Initiative with the goal of increasing the number of women in the solar industry and supporting their professional advancement. The investment is both financial and in the form of solar panels and directly supports GRID Alternatives' mission to bring solar power and solar job training to underserved communities throughout the United States.
"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. "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 terms of the agreement, GRID Alternatives will provide hands-on training and real-world experience in solar system installation to over 1,000 women across the country. In addition, GRID Alternatives will provide 20 women with one year paid fellowships to work in the solar industry. GRID Alternatives will also host a national series of solar installation events and other networking opportunities for both current women executives and up-and-coming professional women looking to advance in the solar industry. The first event will take place on Friday April 25th in Denver.
"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."
In addition to SunEdison's philanthropic investment, volunteers from SunEdison will get on the roof with GRID Alternatives employees to help install solar electric systems for low-income families around the country.