This CEO broke barriers as the first black founder of a solar PV company in Tennessee back in 2010

Stephen Nartey June 07, 2023
In addition to his entrepreneurial and journalistic endeavors, Jason is actively involved in community outreach and mentorship programs. Photo credit: Jason Carney via LinkedIn

Former Clean Energy Program Manager, Jason Carney, did not understand or fully grasp the depths of the struggles and challenges of black entrepreneurs who aspired to venture into the clean energy industry until he attempted to install a solar rooftop photovoltaic (PV).

The decision to break the glass ceiling in the clean energy sector with Energy Electives did not only encounter daunting resistance from the Tennessee Valley Authority at the time, but systemic racism. His inspiring journey, from facing adversity to becoming a successful pioneer in the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry is a testament to his unwavering determination and resilience.

Born with a dream to connect his home to clean and sustainable solar energy, Jason encountered numerous challenges along the way. One obstacle that stood out was the high bar that was set by the industry players, making it difficult for individuals of his skin color to obtain the necessary certifications.

Despite these discouraging circumstances, Jason refused to let societal barriers define his path, he had been an energy enthusiast for over 10 years. However, when he wanted to take the North America Board Certified Energy Practitioners exam locally, there was no center in Tennessee he could access for such an opportunity, and later had to make several trips from Nashville to Raleigh to write his exams.

Though he failed at his first attempt, he kept himself going and tried several times until he was successful, according to clean energy. Motivated by his passion for solar energy and the urgent need for sustainable solutions, Jason took matters into his own hands and immersed himself in research, self-education, and hands-on experience, learning the intricacies of solar PV systems on his own.

Through his unwavering perseverance and dedication, he eventually acquired the certifications required to enter the industry.

Armed with his newfound knowledge, Jason not only founded Energy Electives, but also broke barriers as the only black-owned solar PV company in Tennessee in the early 2010s. He transformed his struggle into a powerful platform to create opportunities, not just for himself, but for others who faced similar obstacles.

His story became an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities, offering them hope and igniting their dreams. As the CEO of Energy Electives, Jason has been instrumental in driving the adoption of clean energy solutions across Tennessee and beyond.

His company specializes in providing solar PV systems and services, enabling individuals and businesses to transition to clean and renewable energy sources. By offering affordable and sustainable alternatives, Energy Electives has played a pivotal role in reducing carbon emissions and fostering a greener future for communities.

Jason Carney’s journey goes beyond his role as a business leader. He has also made a significant impact as a journalist, using his platform to shed light on the importance of clean energy and advocate for environmental justice. His unique perspective and experience have amplified the voices of underrepresented communities, emphasizing the need for diversity and inclusion in the clean energy sector.

In addition to his entrepreneurial and journalistic endeavors, Jason is actively involved in community outreach and mentorship programs. He understands the power of representation and aims to inspire the next generation of leaders from diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in clean energy.

Through speaking engagements, workshops, and partnerships, Jason continues to uplift others, paving the way for a more inclusive and sustainable future.

Jason Carney’s story is a demonstration of the indomitable human spirit and the transformative power of perseverance. Despite facing systemic barriers, he has emerged as a trailblazer in the clean energy industry, driving change and empowering others along the way. His unwavering commitment to his vision and ability to turn adversity into opportunity makes him a true role model and a catalyst for positive change.

Last Edited by:Editor Updated: June 11, 2023


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