On June 19, 2020, also known as Juneteenth, Kristal Hansley launched a new community solar company in Baltimore, MD. WeSolar Energy is a new firm dedicated to producing solar farms and providing low- to middle-income families with a means of benefiting from solar energy. WeSolar Energy intends to target communities that don’t generally receive renewable energy opportunities, but that’s not the only feat of this newest solar farm company.
WeSolar Energy has the distinguished honor of being the first community solar company to be launched by a black woman. Hansley, an entrepreneur and solar power advocate, points to the novelty of community solar as one reason she started WeSolar. As for being the first black woman to launch such a company, she expresses concerns that there is a severe lack of representation. She hopes that in being an entrepreneur, she may inspire others to follow in her footsteps and become pioneers in their respective fields.
Even The Solar Foundation and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) can support Hansley’s claims. According to these organizations, high-level positions in solar are made up of 88% white people. Only 8% of that group is said to be women.
Halsey chose Juneteenth for its significance to Black Americans as a celebration for the ending of slavery. Considering the nationwide riots and the “Black Lives Matter” movement, Hansley believes the 2020 holiday was especially poised for launching her new community solar company.
As someone who loves serving the local community, Hansley has held many positions in multiple organizations over the years. Before launching WeSolar, Hansley held the spot of Program Manager for the Senate Democratic Diversity Initiative and spearheaded Community Affairs policy in Congresswoman Elanor Norton’s office.
Her work on Capitol Hill ultimately led to a role in Maryland’s Neighborhood Sun as Director of Government and Community Relations. By working with local solar developers and leadership tied to decisions regarding renewables, Hansley earned the experience she felt necessary to launch WeSolar.
As with all community solar programs, WeSolar turns energy production into utility bill credits for consumers.