First African American-owned Solar Manufacturer Creates Local Jobs in Anacostia

When Mark Davis started his career, he didn’t know that he would one day become a key player in America’s growing green economy. 

Davis was running a successful information company in Washington, D.C., when he started to think about the environment and the importance of clean energy. In 2009, he started a solar energy company, WDC Solar. Today, he is opening a solar panel manufacturing plant in the D.C. neighborhood of Anacostia, and creating high quality jobs for local residents, who face some of the highest rates of unemployment in the area. The plant will be the first African American-owned solar manufacturer in the U.S.

Davis says he got into solar power because he cared about the environment and felt it was simply the right thing to do.

And the power of clean energy to help humans became very clear to him in 2010, after a devastating earthquake hit Haiti. His company, WDC Solar, worked with ARCH trainees to put together “solar suitcases” with portable electrical systems that could be used to power orphanages, hospitals, and other critical facilities in the wake of the disaster.

Training local workers is a big priority for Davis—and a big challenge. Obtaining funding for training programs is extremely difficult, so much so that he’s funded many training programs with his own money, training dozens of people over the years.  He hopes to train many more residents of the community, which is predominantly African American.

WDC Solar has made it a priority to invest in a new generation of solar champions—the company teaches workers to install solar panels, including on low-income family housing in D.C.  Participants earn valuable experience—they’ve helped install solar panels on twenty homes in less than two months, and have installed several systems on commercial buildings. Through efforts like this, Mark Davis and WDC Solar are doing more than fighting climate change—they’re transforming communities.

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  • commented 2017-02-02 19:50:52 -0800
    I want to start a similar project to train disadvantaged individuals in the Solar Industry. My family owns 63 acres of land and I would love to either have a manufacturing plant or solar farm built on it. I just don’t know where to start or have any money. Mark Davis, can you please advise?
  • commented 2016-11-30 07:26:56 -0800
    Congratulations Mark , this is a great opportunity for the world to see . The would is moving toward more energy alternatives and it’s great to see African Americans become a part of the huge business opportunity . I would like to discuss with you how I could assist in the growth and expansion of this business model and add to your bottom line .

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