One of my first stories of 2014 was an interview with Reginald Parker, an African-American entrepreneur with a chemical engineering Ph.D. from MIT who was preparing to build one of the largest solar farms in the country. He broke ground on the project in September, in North Carolina, near an area where his relatives once picked cotton. Upon completion next year, it will cover 100 acres, and will produce 20 megawatts of electricity. Best of all, much of the profits will go to African-American farmers and “socially disadvantaged rural businesses” in the area.
This is all good, but when Parker recently spoke with a reporter from GreenTechMedia about it, he couldn’t help but note the isolation he feels: “Women and minorities get locked out of [the solar industry] even before they know there’s a chance to get in,” he told GreenTechMedia’s Julia Pyper.
Parker is far from alone in believing this. Black politicians and…
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