Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Kristal Hansley, Founder & CEO of WeSolar, Inc.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 27, 2021
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is happy to share the first installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series. Each installment will feature industry leaders and topics associated with accelerating an equitable and simply shift to a renewable resource economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August blog site is the first in a series highlighting how Black-owned member business are thriving in the renewable resource sector.
Kristal Hansley is the Founder & & CEO of WeSolar, Inc and is the countrys first Black female CEO in the community solar market. Under her management, WeSolar is growing rapidly, providing customers across Maryland and the District of Columbia access to affordable solar power, despite home type, and assisting hard-working households minimize monthly costs.
What inspired you to begin your business?
The plain fact that most of homes who were getting eco-friendly energy incentives were greater earnings. I remember learning this and thinking there had to be a way to address this gap. I discovered there was a problem. I had my own concepts on how to solve it, and I desired to have company over my own choices. I was at a community conference with 50 Black females organizers who were not purchased the community solar movement. It felt like a lightbulb had turned on for me as soon as I started to discuss how important and urgent it was for us to be a part of the solar motion. I began showing how higher-income neighborhoods and people in the suburbs were taking advantage of renewable tax rewards and had received a lot of assistance. The truth is, energy use effects Black household budget plans greatly. 36% of Black homes experience a high energy problem, suggesting they spend over 6% of their earnings on house energy bills. Thats a huge portion. To be able to provide a product that will save our community approximately 60% on their energy bills is transformative.
Inform us about your company?
WeSolars mission is to bring under-resourced neighborhoods affordable access to regional community solar and to help industrial homes with energy performance. In Maryland, lawmakers passed legislation that specifies 50 percent of its electricity should come from renewable energy sources by 2030.
What challenges do you deal with? Why?
To a neighborhood that is currently facing many pushing challenges, persuading them that there is another one just as important is extremely challenging. I remember trying to discuss neighborhood solar to my buddies and the discussion rapidly rotating to real estate. The reality of the matter is, institutional racism and oppression are larger than we know, and it drowns our neighborhood. Where Black individuals are not being invested in, we are being asked to focus on continuously for our survival.
Please share with us a recent company success story.
A very individual success story for me is cultivating a collaboration with Maryland United Baptist Missionary Convention, Inc. I grew up in a Baptist church in Brooklyn where my cousin was the pastor, and my mommy was an organizer– community was stitched into my very being. When I first relocated to Baltimore, the Community Solar Pilot Program was launched, and I desired to ensure city locals were receiving the exact same amount of investment as the county. It was the church that took me in, and the church that then supported my vision– bringing whatever complete circle. Renewable resource has actually historically been a middle-class problem because Black neighborhoods have actually needed to live in survival mode, however Reverend Mason and Reverend Dewitt brought me into the circle and connected me with the individuals I required to link with in order to make this partnership effective.
To read more about WeSolar, check out wesolar.energy
I was at a neighborhood meeting with 50 Black women organizers who were not invested in the neighborhood solar motion. To be able to provide an item that will save our neighborhood up to 60% on their energy costs is transformative.
WeSolars objective is to bring under-resourced neighborhoods budget friendly access to local neighborhood solar and to help business residential or commercial properties with energy efficiency. When I initially moved to Baltimore, the Community Solar Pilot Program was introduced, and I wanted to ensure city residents were getting the exact same amount of financial investment as the county. Renewable energy has historically been a middle-class issue since Black neighborhoods have actually had to live in survival mode, however Reverend Mason and Reverend Dewitt brought me into the circle and linked me with the people I needed to connect with in order to make this collaboration effective.