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 delighted to share the very first installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series. Each installation will include market leaders and subjects associated with accelerating a fair and just transition to a renewable energy economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August blog site is the very first in a series highlighting how Black-owned member business are flourishing in the renewable resource sector.
Kristal Hansley is the Founder & & CEO of WeSolar, Inc and is the nations first Black lady CEO in the community solar industry. Under her leadership, WeSolar is growing quickly, supplying consumers across Maryland and the District of Columbia access to cost effective solar energy, despite house type, and assisting hard-working families decrease regular monthly costs.
What inspired you to start your business?
I was at a community conference with 50 Black females organizers who were not invested in the neighborhood solar movement. 36% of Black households experience a high energy problem, suggesting they spend over 6% of their earnings on home energy bills. To be able to provide an item that will save our neighborhood up to 60% on their energy costs is transformative.
Tell us about your company?
WeSolars mission is to bring under-resourced neighborhoods budget-friendly access to local community solar and to assist industrial homes with energy efficiency. In Maryland, legislators passed legislation that specifies 50 percent of its electrical energy must come from sustainable energy sources by 2030.
What obstacles do you face? Why?
To a neighborhood that is already dealing with numerous pushing difficulties, encouraging them that there is another one just as crucial is very hard. I remember attempting to explain community solar to my buddies and the discussion rapidly rotating to real estate. The reality of the matter is, institutional racism and injustice are larger than we know, and it drowns our community. Where Black people are not being bought, we are being asked to prioritize constantly for our survival.
Please show us a recent company success story.
An extremely 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 mom was an organizer– community was stitched into my very being. When I first transferred to Baltimore, the Community Solar Pilot Program was launched, and I wished to make sure city homeowners were receiving the very 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 full circle. Eco-friendly energy has actually traditionally been a middle-class problem due to the fact that Black communities have had to live in survival mode, but Reverend Mason and Reverend Dewitt brought me into the circle and linked me with individuals I needed to connect with in order to make this collaboration effective.
To read more about WeSolar, see wesolar.energy
I was at a community conference with 50 Black women organizers who were not invested in the community solar movement. To be able to offer a product that will save our community up to 60% on their energy costs is transformative.
WeSolars objective is to bring under-resourced neighborhoods affordable access to local community solar and to assist commercial properties with energy performance. When I first moved to Baltimore, the Community Solar Pilot Program was released, and I wanted to ensure city residents were receiving the very same amount of investment as the county. Renewable energy has historically been a middle-class problem because Black communities have had to live in survival mode, but Reverend Mason and Reverend Dewitt brought me into the circle and linked me with the people I required to connect with in order to make this partnership effective.