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.About Us
WDC Solar, founded by NBA-player-turned-entrepreneur Mark Davis, is one of the nation’s first African American-owned solar panel installation companies. In addition to serving paying clients, WDC Solar installs solar panels in low-income communities at no cost to residents and trains young men and women—often those who are unemployed or under employed —in this type of skilled labor.
WDC Solar also offers North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certified entry-level training that enables graduates to pass the NABCEP PV Associate Exam.
WDC Solar creates livable wage renewable energy jobs for local electricians, roofers, solar technicians and engineers. Through the employment of local people to sell and install solar panels, WDC Solar keeps dollars in local communities, saves families money on energy costs, improves the air quality, and makes solar energy affordable and available to all residents living in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.