‘Attracting female talents is a plus for project development companies’


The solar sector has a higher representation of women than fossil energy industries. Nevertheless, we still need to pay attention to not reducing this representation to support functions. At Nexun, we work on having women distributed among project developers, GIS, land scouting, and leadership positions. We started with 80% women. That was quite unusual and difficult to maintain. After one year, we are proud to keep a very balanced team.

The fact that, despite the above, it remains a men’s industry, is certainly a challenge for women who generally need to prove harder that they have abilities. There is still a lot to do to make our work culture evolve. It is quite exciting contributing to changing the way of thinking and bringing more diversity and open mindedness within a traditional professional sector.  Having offered the opportunity to represent a tipping point for others is an opportunity and a responsibility for the women of the industry.

Also, being part of the minority makes women more unique: as one of the few women, people from the industry remember you more easily. That’s sometimes useful!

My initial paths within the renewables industry started in 2005 in Poland. Renewables target goals were just settled for newly integrated EU countries. You can imagine that it was an interesting experience being a young French woman talking about renewables in a country where coal and energy were monopolies in the hands of heavy state-owned companies with very few decision-making women.

There is still some work to be done towards equality, but I must say that the situation has considerably evolved in most European countries in the last decades. Today, 20 years after my initial start in Poland, we are very proud to open our Nexun office in Warsaw, composed of three qualified women professionals.

The beauty of creating your company is that you can select your team to avoid certain issues.  For me, values and team spirit are crucial elements to be assessed during the recruitment process.  A diverse team in terms of gender, of course, but also nationalities or backgrounds is more innovative and always brings value.

Before becoming an entrepreneur, I had met many supportive males who promoted the same values. I feel that the situation is now evolving more quickly also because people working in renewables are rather young, and in many countries, the new generation is getting rid of typical male-dominating biases and stereotypes. So what I would say to the new generation entering our industry is welcome and keep it up!

Project development is a job that requires multitasking abilities, flexibility, teamwork, patience, and many more skills for women to make valuable contributions. Attracting female talents is a plus for project development companies.

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In terms of changes that we still need to see, to be very concrete, a more balanced parental leave would be a game changer. For many people, midlife is the critical time when you are building a career and a family. Women and men do not play by the same rules as long as maternity leaves are unbalanced.

More subtly, the so-called “impostor syndrome” is one of the top barriers to female career progression. An important challenge for women is to develop more self-confidence. To help this, we should collectively work on gender split in executive and visible roles. The more female models in positions of power, the more positive examples it will give to both men and women. It is proven that women leaders in a company directly impact females applying for roles. We could evidence it at Nexun since day one.

Chloé Durieux is a French “serial developer.” After almost 20 years of experience developing renewable energy projects and leading development teams in France, Europe and Latin America, she recently started a new challenge as an entrepreneur. In 2023, together with her partner Josef Kastner, she co-founded Nexun, a pan-European solar developer founded by investment firm Marguerite. Today, Nexun has offices in five countries and a multicultural team of twenty-five motivated and amazing people, maintaining nearly 50% women.

Interested in joining Chloé Durieux and other women industry leaders and experts at Women in Solar Europe? Find out more: www.wiseu.network


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