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Faces of Solar: Chris Williams, CEO of Millennium Solar Electric Inc.

The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) has launched the Illinois solar industry into a golden age, providing Illinoisans with an abundance of benefits – from creating thousands of family-supporting careers to helping heal the environment to creating a more stable electrical grid.  

Chris Williams, CEO of Millennium Solar Electric Inc.

Amidst this significant growth, it is imperative to ensure equitable access and opportunity in the solar industry. In this Faces of Solar feature, we’re proud to highlight Chris Williams, CEO of Millennium Solar Electric Inc., a man who is not only a successful business owner but also a champion of ensuring the solar industry’s benefits are shared with everyone, especially communities impacted by social, environmental, and economic injustice.

Chris, a third-generation contractor, founded Millennium Solar Electric Inc. in 1999. His interest in solar deepened at the turn of the millennium after finding success with generator sales. When the calendar flipped to the year 2000, he began to strategize how to grow his company moving forward, turning his attention to solar. He realized all communities can benefit from harnessing the sun’s energy because it is a renewable, universal power source.

After nearly two decades of building his company and honing his craft, Chris turned his focus to extending the industry’s benefits to others. In 2017, Chris launched the Millennium Solar Electric Training Academy (MSETA) to offer opportunities to communities impacted by social, environmental, and economic injustice. Each year, MSETA trains an average of 250 students from these communities. 

Chris’ efforts to extend the economic benefits of the solar industry don’t stop there. In 2023, he helped establish the Equity Eligible Contractors Alliance (EECA) to educate and advocate for contractors and train the workforce. The EECA’s vision is to build a more equitable renewable energy industry by assisting both contractors and jobseekers through instruction, mentorship, and career development. 

“There are many great ways to enter the solar field. Everyone does not need to climb onto a roof to be involved,” Chris said. “There are opportunities in manufacturing, system design, sales, marketing, installation, operations, engineering, electrical, mechanical, management, and many more specialties. To reach CEJA’s goal to shift Illinois to 100% renewable energy by 2050, we’ll need to continue building up that workforce. My work with MSETA and the EECA will be critical to helping reach these goals and expanding equity in the solar industry.”

Solar energy has many benefits on many levels, and there are many opportunities to build a successful career in the solar industry. Chris encourages others to get involved and is standing up for critical programs and initiatives to help the industry achieve its goals with an equitable lens.


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