Cleanie Awards Honor SEIA’s Commitment to Diversity, Hopper’s Leadership
Tuesday, Nov 16 2021
The Cleanie Awards named SEIA CEO Abigail Ross Hopper "Woman of the Year."
Each year, The Cleanie Awards celebrate the people and brands that are driving the clean energy economy forward. Today, The Cleanie Awards is honoring Abigail Ross Hopper and the Solar Energy Industries Association for their contributions to the solar industry.
The Cleanie Awards named Ms. Hopper, “Woman of the Year” for her leadership and ability to navigate some of the toughest challenges that the industry has faced to date.
Despite a politically turbulent environment, Ms. Hopper helped secure an extension of the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for the solar industry at the end of 2020, which increased the industry’s 10-year deployment forecast by 17%. Ms. Hopper has been fiercely advocating for a long-term extension of this important policy plus, as well as a direct pay option, both of which appear in the Build Back Better Act, as well as many other policies like a standalone tax credit for energy storage and incentives for domestic manufacturing.
Tax policy and business certainty are key given the numerous trade and supply chain challenges the industry is facing. Under Ms. Hopper’s leadership, SEIA developed a traceability protocol to help the industry maintain an ethical and transparent supply chain, and performed a comprehensive update to its Solar Commitment, which defines common labor, health and safety, environmental, and ethical standards and expectations for solar companies throughout the industry.
In addition, SEIA successfully lobbied the U.S. Department of Commerce to reject the harmful petitions for new circumvention tariffs and recently won its case before the U.S. Court of International Trade, which rejected the Trump administration’s decision to change the step-down rate for the Section 201 tariffs and reinstated the bifacial module exclusion from the tariffs. Both actions will result in refunds of the tariffs that had been collected under the proclamation.
Ms. Hopper is also a strategic, visionary leader that has invested in game-changing innovations, like SolarAPP+, while also doubling down on her vision for the Solar+ Decade and diversity, equity, inclusion and justice priorities.
SEIA also won the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Champion award at the gold level. In the summer of 2020, SEIA started the DEIJ Leadership Council to identify clear and achievable goals that will make the solar industry more diverse, equitable and inclusive, while ensuring that the growth of solar nationwide supports frontline communities and addresses environmental justice. The taskforce focused on creating tangible, near-term solutions and steps the industry could take to make a big impact and leapfrog ahead on DEIJ issues.
As part of this work, SEIA created an environmental justice policy platform to establish clear policy objectives for its diversity and environmental justice work. SEIA also developed the Diverse Suppliers Database, a free tool to elevate minority, women, disabled, veteran, and LGBTQ+ owned businesses operating in the solar and storage industries. There are now over 200 companies on the database representing a variety of backgrounds across the country.
The council also created a first-of-its kind diversity certification program for the solar industry. The program provides resources and guidance for companies as they put these best practices in place and enables them to report on their progress. As companies participate and excel in the program, they earn recognition for their progress, helping to encourage broad participation and reward companies that are working in earnest to serve their communities and attract, hire, promote, and retain diverse talent.
Together, these achievements demonstrate Ms. Hopper’s and SEIA’s commitment to building a strong solar industry that’s prepared to meet the challenges ahead, while also equitably expanding renewable energy and job opportunities.
SEIA thanks The Cleanie Awards for the recognition and its members for making this work possible.