Who We Are
SolarUp! is an organization dedicated to creating access for low and middle income communities to the promise of solar energy. Through connecting stakeholders, assisting with technical challenges and managing projects, SolarUp! fills a gap that exists between traditional installers and LMI buyers. Our goal is to empower LMI communities across the southern United States, take advantage of the cost saving properties of solar energy and expand solar exponentially.
SolarUp! is an Alabama Limited Liability Corporation, founded in 2018. SolarUp!’s founders are Wilton Merritt, Jabril Abdul-Ghani and DeForrest Brown who comprise the organization’s full membership and Board of Directors, with day-to-day operations overseen by the firm’s Management Team. SolarUp! has compiled an Advisory Board comprised of technical experts, resources, and project collaborators initially accessed through the US Department of Energy’s Solar In Your Community Technical Expert Assistance Marketplace.
DeForrest Brown, CEO
Mr. Brown has more than 25 years of experience working with low to moderate families, specifically in financial empowerment, asset building, wellfare to work, youth opportunity grants, and transportation in urban and rural areas. Since 2015, he has been CEO of Brown Enterprises Networking Solutions where he provides oversight and direct services for the individual income tax services, the bookkeeping services, community development and the small business and micro business networking system. DeForrest previously served as the Assistant Vice President of Financial Stability Partnership for United Way of Central Alabama, providing administrative oversight for initiatives statewide to increase and sustain quality financial empowerment programming. He is a certified tax professional and certified housing counselor with more than 10 years of proven experience managing and providing direct service for IRS sponsored tax programs.
Mr. Brown’s Roles and Responsibilities:
As SolarUp!’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Brown is responsible for the overall vision, strategy, and financial soundness of the organization. He leads all strategic and business planning aspects of the company, including:
• Developing high quality business strategies and plans ensuring their alignment with short-term and long-term objectives
• Leading and motivating subordinates to advance employee engagement develop a high performing managerial team
• Overseeing all operations and business activities to ensure they produce the desired results and are consistent with the overall strategy and mission
Wilton. D. Merritt, President
Founder, managing partner of Solarup! He is a skilled Forensic Scientist who has a passion for self-sustainable photovoltaic (solar) energy applications. Mr. Merritt has successfully managed the “Day to Day” operations of several long-term assets. He is a global compliance professional that provides guidance and support to supply chains and logistics teams. He is active in his community and currently working on projects that promote community work force development plans, self-sustainable renewable energy generation and strategies to implement energy efficiency.
Mr. Merritt’s Roles and Responsibilities:
As SolarUp!’s President, Mr. Merritt is responsible for managing the day to day business operations and logistics and successful implementation of the organization’s policies as per the directions of the CEO and Board of Directors. He leads the implementation of established strategic plans and business objectives of the company, including:
• Implementation of high quality business strategies and plans as established in conjunction with the CEO and Management Team, ensuring their alignment with shortterm and long-term objectives.
• Plans, develops, organizes, implements, directs, and evaluates the organization’s human resource function and performance.
• Leading and motivating subordinates to advance employee engagement develop a high performing managerial team.
• Overseeing all operations and business activities to ensure they produce the desired results and are consistent with the overall strategy and mission.
Jabril Abdul-Ghani, COO
Mr. Abdul-Ghani is a materials scientist with significant laboratory management experience. Mr. Abdul-Ghani worked for US Steel as a Quality Assurance Manager with oversight of laboratories operations and hiring. Jabril is a retired International Organization for Standards (150) Auditor. He also worked for Denver Thomas Foundry as a Laboratory Supervisor and for McDonnell Douglas Aerospace Manufacturing Corporation as a Quality Assurance Manager. He has taught material science overseas under military contract and served in the Air Force as a Non-Destructive Inspection Technician. Mr. Abdul-Ghani attended Methodist College with a degree in Material Science, specializing in composite material.
Mr. Abdul-Ghani’s Roles and Responsibilities:
As SolarUp!’s COO, Mr. Abdul-Ghani is responsible for the functionality of business to drive sustainable growth and maintained quality. He leads the daily operations of the organization including sub-contracting, supply-chain management, and service delivery.
Key responsibilities include:
• Designing and implementing business operations
• Establishing policies that promote company culture and vision
• Overseeing operations of the company and the work of executives