In acknowledgement of the 10th anniversary of Solar Power World’s Top Solar Contractors list, the editorial team proudly recognizes four individuals for Top Solar Champions awards. These special awards highlight four individuals working at Top Solar Contractor companies who have gone the extra mile in their jobs and solar advocacy efforts.
The 2021 Top Solar Changemaker award-winner is Kate Gold, director of community engagement at Solar Landscape.
Talking about diversity and inclusion in the solar industry is a good start, but the 2021 Top Solar Changemaker is actively bringing underserved communities into the green economy.
Kate Gold’s mission as director of community engagement at Solar Landscape is to train and develop the future renewable energy workforce in New Jersey. She has helped the company partner with nonprofits including the Jewish Renaissance Foundation, the Hispanic Family Center of Southern Jersey and Interfaith Neighbors to offer in-person solar job training for local residents.
“Kate’s impact on New Jersey’s landscape for solar energy employment and workforce development is a testament to her hard work and dedication to providing opportunities for others. Kate is a force in New Jersey and is most deserving of this recognition.”
– Kevin Dunshee, chief commercial officer, Solar Landscape
When the pandemic started, Gold had to change plans to keep pushing forward. She formed a partnership with Edison Job Corps to provide its students with remote solar installation training, and also collaborated with local colleges to offer free remote NABCEP training. Solar Landscape successfully trained more than 100 students during the pandemic and was even able to employ some of them on its construction and development teams. One graduate introduced Gov. Phil Murphy at the Solar Landscape’s ribbon-cutting for the state’s first community solar project in January 2021.
Gold’s workforce development leadership then led to yet another partnership, this time with roofing manufacturer GAF. Solar Landscape is now working with the manufacturer to provide free commercial roofing and solar installation training in historically marginalized communities across New Jersey. She also created additional internal programs to train high school students and mentor newly trained employees to give them the tools they need to succeed.