Celebrating the Latinx/Hispanic Workers that Make the Solar Industry Great
Thursday, Oct 15 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionally affected the finances and health of Hispanic and Latinx Americans, with millions of jobs lost and little economic relief. As the economy recovers from the worst impacts of the pandemic, the U.S. solar industry is poised to help the country rebuild better and create a massive workforce that is diverse, equitable and provides opportunities for all Americans.
Hispanic and Latinx Americans have been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, with the unemployment rate for Hispanics rising to 18.5% in April compared to 4.8% in February. These unemployment rates are much higher than the national unemployment rate at the same time, which was 14.7% in April 2020. And according to E2, Latinx Americans in the clean energy industry were hit the hardest in the spring, making up 14% of the clean energy workforce but 25% of job losses.
Solar energy’s exponential growth over the past two decades puts the industry in a unique position to build a burgeoning workforce that brings people back to work as the country recovers from the pandemic. Last year, SEIA set an ambitious goal for the industry: to reach 20% solar electricity generation by 2030. Achieving this goal will add nearly 400,000 jobs over the next decade. In order to ensure that this growth is equitable, the industry must prioritize diversity and inclusion to bring up populations that have historically been left behind.
Right now, Hispanic solar workers only make up 17.2% of the workforce, according to the 2019 Solar Jobs Census. The opportunities that the solar industry presents to people of all different backgrounds, experience and education levels allows it to support underserved populations who are suffering from the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
These jobs pay competitive wages and range from managers to accountants to solar installers, a job that is currently one of the fastest growing careers in the U.S. As the solar industry continues to grow and develop, it is our responsibility to ensure that Latinx and Hispanic populations are included in the industry’s success.
As Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close, SEIA wants to thank all the Latinx/Hispanic solar workers that help make the solar industry great. The long-term growth and success of our industry depends on a strong and healthy workforce that reflects the diversity of our citizens, and SEIA will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that the growth of our industry ensures the growth and prosperity of all Americans.