When you walk into Todae Solar’s bustling Head Office in Glebe, Sydney, you will probably notice a few things typical of a commercial solar installer; engineers huddled over desks with large-format drawings; aerial photos of recent solar installations; and the type of palpable buzz that is only possible in an industry experiencing exponential growth.
What might not be immediately striking, but nevertheless outstanding, to anyone who has experience in the energy or tech sectors, is the sheer amount of women compromising the bustling staff. For Todae Solar, this is no accident.
Throughout the energy sector, women are underrepresented. While the number of women in solar have been slowly increasing (around 1% globally), women still only represent less than a quarter of the 20,000 solar jobs in Australia.
Todae Solar has experienced rapid staff growth to keep up with the volume of work: “We are currently in an energy revolution. We are moving away from a centralised, fossil fuel energy consumption model to that of clean, distributed energy. There is no stopping this movement and the best way to answer to the call of climate change and to meet growing energy demand is with fair (gender) representation and diversity of talent,” says Todae Solar CEO, Danin Kahn.
A Huffington Post analysis pointed out that women are perhaps underutilised in both climate change adaptation and mitigation initiatives, saying, “With the proper capacity, women have the capability to represent key energy managers, contributors and beneficiaries of renewable energy and efficiency projects.”
“We don’t want to just lead the market on the installation side, but on the culture side as well,” says Kahn.
Recently, Todae Solar took their commitment to gender diversity even further by signing the Clean Energy Council’s Women in Renewables Pledge, which strives to uphold inclusive leadership, encourage women’s voices in industry forums and panels, and promote the achievements of women in the solar industry and workplace.
“Our growth has not just allowed us to bring on more female engineers, project managers and other personnel, but also provide career progression and leadership opportunities to many of the women who have been key in delivering our growth as a company.”
Kahn emphasised that Todae Solar’s practices when it comes to promoting gender equality is not simply because it’s the right thing to do, but because it makes the best business sense. According to the World Development Report, “smart economics, enhancing productivity, advancing development outcomes for the next generation, and making institutions more representative.”
For Todae Solar, in the last 6 months, around 43% of the open roles have been filled by women, with a significant portion of these roles being technical positions. “We still have a way to go, but when you look at the rest of the industry, the strides we’ve been able to make as a company to create good jobs that close the gender gap have not been insignificant,” says Kahn.
Diversity, for Todae Solar, is not just about gender, but culture too. With over 20 different nationalities represented by the staff, diversity has been a key ingredient to Todae Solar’s success, according to Kahn. “Innovation often goes hand in hand with diversity. We want to continue to be the leaders and innovators in the space, and our diversity of talent will be the backbone to that continued success. We look forward to leading with many more outstanding initiatives like the Women in Renewables Pledge and thank the Clean Energy Council for their important work on these issues.”