Women’s History Month
It is important to understand and showcase the successes women have enjoyed in the solar field and the advancements they have made. Career opportunities for women and girls in the clean energy sector exist and need to be more visible and accessible. These role models are successful founders and entrepreneurs and showcase the possibilities for women in the solar energy field and beyond.
Neha Misra, an energy economist, is a Co-Founder of Solar Sister. This not-for-profit addresses energy poverty, women’s empowerment, and climate change issues in sub-Saharan Africa. Solar Sister buys clean energy products such as solar lights, mobile chargers, and efficient cookstoves. Next, they build local distribution networks to get these products to entrepreneurs in off-grid communities. Solar Sister is a women-driven business whose operations are 100% dependent on local entrepreneurs, and strong women lead their country programs from those countries. Over 3,500 Solar Sister women entrepreneurs have reached 1.5 million people in Africa with clean energy products.
“Women are the largest untapped renewable energy source in the world.” -Neha Misra
Laura E. Stachel is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of WE CARE Solar (Women’s Emergency Communications and Reliable Electricity), a non-profit organization that manufactures solar power suitcases. These suitcases provide electricity for underserved maternal health facilities in Africa and other rural regions of the world. This is crucial as health workers do not have adequate electricity in these regions to ensure that mothers and newborns are safe. Currently, over 1.8 million mothers and newborns have been served in health centers using solar suitcases; over 3,500 health centers were equipped with solar suitcases; over 13,000 health workers have been trained. WE CARE Solar contributes to three SDGs: good health and well-being, gender equality, and affordable and clean energy.
“All women have the right to deliver children safely in clinics with reliable lighting and power.” -Laura Stachel
Wandee Kunchornyakong is the Founder, Chairwoman, and CEO of SPCG Public Company Limited, a pioneer in solar farms and solar roof development in Thailand and the wider ASEAN community. SPCG has a predominantly female workforce, where women make up almost 60% of the company’s total workforce! Wandee is also the President of the National Council of Women of Thailand (NCWT). There, she works to improve women’s and children’s lives by providing local jobs, education, networking, and training opportunities.
“I can bring solar power to Southeast Asia.” -Wandee Kunchornyakong
The use of solar energy contributes to sustainable development, one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG number 7 focuses on ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. This goal is crucial to achieving many of the other SDGs – from poverty eradication to promoting gender equality, women’s empowerment, and access to decent work for all.
There are many women pioneering the way in the solar industry. Every step forward in the solar industry is a step in the right direction!