Our Vision for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice
Solar is an increasingly economic choice, and 100% clean energy is within our reach, with at least 50% from solar power.
In order to reach that clean energy future, we know that solar needs to serve everyone and include everyone.
We are working to advance our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. This means transforming who we are, how we work and show up in the world, and what we work on.
Who We Are
Vote Solar is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit that advocates for solar for all. We have traditionally engaged with allies in the environmental movement and the solar industry, both of which have traditionally been — and continue to be — disproportionately white and often male dominated. Vote Solar is taking steps to change that for our organization.
- We value diversity in all its forms and are taking steps to overhaul our hiring and recruitment policies and practices, to ensure we are reaching a broad and diverse pool of candidates.
- We are cultivating a supportive, diverse, and inclusive environment at every level of our organization, including our staff, leadership and board, to ensure that we retain our excellent staff and allow them to be their authentic selves.
- To foster such an inclusive culture, we are refining our internal policies and practices, creating a culture of learning, and implementing measurement and evaluation tools to hold us accountable.
How We Work
As we work towards a 100% clean future that works for everyone, we are making changes in how we work. Vote Solar is taking deliberate, sustained, and conscientious attention to partnership with environmental justice groups, communities of color, and other community organizations in the places we wish to serve. We must ensure that their voices are represented in the energy policy discussions that impact their communities.
We are actively seeking guidance from our partners as we continue on this path. As we approach partnerships, we are following the guidance laid out in the Jemez Principles. We have built Just Partnership Principles to guide Vote Solar’s work.
What We Work On
Pollution from fossil fuels has a disproportionate impact on communities of color, low-wealth communities, and other historically marginalized groups. These groups bear a disproportionate energy burden, meaning they spend a larger percentage of their household income on their energy bills than their wealthier counterparts. Moreover, people of color are under-represented in the clean-tech and solar workforce.
We know that communities of color, low-wealth communities, and other historically marginalized groups contribute to state funding sources for renewable energy, and their contributions are disproportionally high. As such, we believe that state policies should equitably convey benefits back to these communities. This should be done through programs and incentives designed to provide bill savings, wealth generation, jobs, and improvements to local air quality and public health.
We support policies that result in equitable distribution of community wealth, and do not continue to contribute to inequitable social power structures through the redistribution of statewide funding sources.
If our solar goals become reality, solar will be one of the largest and most important industries in America. It’s not only our moral obligation to take advantage of this opportunity to build a more just society, it’s also a smart tactical and strategic path. As we advocate for change, everyone must see themselves, and how they benefit, in the future we hope to build. We cannot achieve this future otherwise.
Access & Equity Advisory Committee
Vote Solar’s Access & Equity Advisory Committee works together to address challenges states face when implementing low-income solar programs. Each year, the Access and Equity Advisory Committee will rotate and meet to explore and provide recommendations to address the most pressing barriers to low-income solar program implementation.
As states design programs with low-income components, they must always keep their eye towards building more access and a more equitable process. States face a number of challenges in implementation that risk reducing access to solar programs for low-income families and families of color.
Throughout 2020, the Access and Equity Team interviewed partners in the solar industry, environmental justice organizations, and nonprofit organizations to learn what barriers customers face everyday.
We convened an Advisory Committee to identify challenges, best practices, and solutions for low-income solar program implementation. The work of the Advisory Committee will culminate in an issue brief that examines two key issues raised through interviews: automatic enrollment and grant funding can eliminate barriers low-income customers face.
- Sign up for our newsletter to get updated when the issue brief is published.
- Learn more: Explore the Low-Income Solar Policy Guide, a partnership between Vote Solar and GRID Alternatives.