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The Faces of Solar

Shannon Higgins

October 2020

We believe that clean, affordable energy is key to a more equitable future for every American. In this crucial endeavor, we welcome diversity, and we are working hard to promote inclusion and equity both inside and outside our organization. After all, a better future belongs to everyone, and we all have a part to play. 

Through our Faces of Solar series, we hope to shine a light on those who inspire us. Whether they are a Sun Valley Solar employee, or individuals carrying the mantle on a  global scale, we are all one on our path to a brighter tomorrow.

 

Employee Spotlight: Chrystal Ellerbe
Operations Specialist, Commercial Division, Sun Valley Solar Solutions

Chrystal EllerbeQ. What is your favorite part about your job?

A: The best part of this job and part of the reason I have stayed here for six years is that my coworkers are amazing and there is a strong dedication to bettering our community.

Q: As a member of the solar community, what impact do you hope to have on future generations?

A: The impact I hope to have on future generations is to inspire others to join the solar revolution and make a difference in our communities and for the environment.

Q: How has working in solar encouraged you to live more sustainably? 

A: I currently own a 3.4kW photovoltaic system at my home. If I had not worked in the solar industry, I do not think it would have been a priority for me while I was house hunting.

 

Kristal Hansley - Launching a Community Solar Company

Kristal Hansley Is The First Black Woman To Launch A Community Solar Company And Did So On Juneteenth by Kenny Williams Jr. for Blavity.com

Close Up - Kenyon-1

"According to a report released by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and The Solar Foundation, white workers make up 88% of top-tier positions in the U.S. solar industry (white men represent 80% of that group). Not letting those odds deter her, Kristal Hansley has just become the first Black woman in the country to own a community solar company. A Howard University grad, Hansley is paving the way for the next generation of Black women to kick down the doors of racism and sexism to achieve their wildest dreams." Read more on Blavity here. 

 

SVSS Employee Spotlight: Andrase Sampson

Service Technician, Sun Valley Solar Solutions  

Andrase 2

Q: What is your favorite part about your job?

A: My favorite part of being a Service Technician is problem solving. You never really know what you're up against until you're onsite and it's up to you to make a game plan and execute. In a close second is the customer interaction. I always enjoy educating homeowners on their solar energy systems and building relationships through Sun Valley Solar.

Q: How has working in solar encouraged you to live more sustainably?

A: I pay more attention to my consumption and I try to be as energy efficient as possible. When the time and investment are right, I will definitely be going solar and possibly purchase an electric hybrid vehicle.

Q: What is your advice for someone considering a career in solar?

A: I'd say try it! If you like working outdoors and are looking for a challenging career that's constantly changing and growing, it's for you! There are days when I'm literally working in a scenic postcard setting. You always meet new and interesting homeowners and there's always new problems to solve. Try it!

 

Tony Reams - Shedding Light on Energy Injustice

This prof is shedding light on energy injustice — and how to fix it by Adrienne Day for Grist.org

Employee Network 3

"...Reames explains why the near future looks rough for so many households. He also details how a Green New Deal focused on energy equity could function in the same way that, say, preventative healthcare does, whereby everyone saves money in the long run. The added bonus: It’d also get people back to work again."

"Access to renewables, especially solar, might have been one way for people to be more resilient during this period, because it could’ve helped offset energy costs at a time when so many people are running their air conditioners." - Tykee James. Read more on Grist here. 

 

Tykee James - Diversifying the Environmental Movement

The environmental movement is very white. These leaders what to change that. by Rachel Jones for National Georgraphic

Niven Sedona

"As a governmental affairs coordinator for the National Audubon Society, Tykee James says he’s used to interjecting race and equity issues in conversations about the environment and conservation... He is one of a growing group of young, diverse environmental leaders examining how racism and white supremacy have long excluded Black, brown, and Indigenous people in environmental policy, conservation, and public health issues. Their work comes as environmental groups have begun publicly examining their role in perpetuating systemic racist policies and practices." Read more on National Geographic here.