Puerto Rico, February 19, 2020 – Solar Energy International (SEI) was recognized as an exemplary commitment maker by Secretary Hillary Clinton during the Clinton Foundation CGI Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery event in Puerto Rico. Matthew Harris, SEI’s Spanish Program Business Development Director, represented SEI’s partnership with Bosque Modelo on the Work-Based Training for Women in Renewable Energy commitment to action.

With the impacts of Hurricane Maria in 2017 being especially severe, 54% percent of Puerto Rician households now live below the poverty line. As solar energy has expanded, Bosque Modelo has determined that solar could provide much needed resilience and create new economic opportunities for a generation of women in the region. Accordingly, Bosque Modelo, in partnership with SEI, ACONER, and Oxfam America, will strengthen the role of women in solar energy in Puerto Rico by training 25 women to become solar installers in the rural Bosque Modelo region during the year 2020.

In Puerto Rico, of 5,500 certified electricians, only 18 are women (Source: Lisa Spickers – ACONER). Of those 18 certified electrician women, only five have the certification that is required to install solar energy systems. A combination of technical training, work-based learning and paid opportunities are necessary for women to access jobs, advance professionally, and reach parity in the growing renewable energy sector. Using SEI’s Solar Energy Fundamentals Curriculum, the proposed training will include 100 hours of academic instruction, 20 hours of laboratory training and the completion of solar installations at three community centers for hands-on training. Participants in the program will receive new economic support that includes stipends for childcare/travel as well as paid internships with solar companies, enabling women to enter the solar workforce and disrupt gender barriers across the energy sector. 

“SEI is honored, not only to be recognized as an exemplary commitment maker by the Clinton Foundation for our partnership with Bosque Modelo, but for being part of a solution that seeks to strengthen the role of women in solar energy. Not only to close the gender gap in the electrical sector but to also create job opportunities that will provide economic independence and increase the life quality of the communities where they live. This is proof that the reach of solar education goes beyond just creating much needed new sources of clean energy, generating new opportunities for all”, said Kathy Swartz, Executive Director of Solar Energy International (SEI)

About Solar Energy International (SEI)

Solar Energy International (SEI) was founded in 1991 as a nonprofit educational organization. Our mission is to provide industry-leading technical training and expertise in renewable energy to empower people, communities, and businesses worldwide. Why? Because we envision a world powered by renewable energy. For more information, visit https://www.solarenergy.org.


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