Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — On Saturday, April 21, rooftops in the Parksdale community of Madera, California, will be swarming with people: community members, job trainees, local business employees and homeowners all working together to install clean solar power for low-income families living there. These nine families are among 30 across the state that will benefit from non-profit GRID Alternatives’ Solar Affordable Housing Program during Earth Week, a program that brings solar power to communities that would not otherwise have access.
And the receiving families aren’t the only ones who will benefit. GRID Alternatives’ “barn raising” solar installation model also provides job trainees and other volunteers with hands-on experience installing systems, helping prepare them for work in one of the fastest growing industries in the state. According to a report by the Solar Foundation, nearly half of all solar installation firms expect to be hiring in the next year, at a growth rate of around 25%.
“At GRID Alternatives, we believe that solutions to environmental problems can go hand-in-hand with solutions to economic problems,” said GRID Alternatives co-founder and Program Director Tim Sears. “Our model doesn’t just reduce pollution, it also reduces energy bills for families that need the savings most while helping workers find jobs in the energy industry of the future.”
Parksdale residents Maria Elena Enriquez and her husband have two children they support with her farm labor and his construction work. But when there’s no work in the fields, times get tough. They are excited not just for the savings that their solar system will bring but for the environment as well. “This is benefitting all our communities because the solar systems will help reduce pollution for all of us,” Ms. Enriquez said.
Other GRID Alternatives Earth Week installation sites include: San Jose Hamilton City San Diego and nearby El Cajon Arroyo Grande Riverside
Taken together these projects will save California families over a million dollars over their systems’ lifetimes, while taking the equivalent of more than 600 cars off the road and training 300 people in solar installation.
GRID Alternatives will also be participating in local Earth Week fairs, hosting renewable energy events, and more. For information about specific GRID Alternatives’ activities in your area please contact your local GRID Alternatives office. (Visit http://www.gridalternatives.org for local contact information.)
About GRID Alternatives GRID Alternatives is a non-profit organization that brings the benefits of solar technology to low-income communities. Using a barn-raising model, GRID Alternatives leads teams of volunteers and job trainees to install solar power on qualifying homes, providing needed savings for families struggling to make ends meet while preparing workers for jobs in the fast-growing solar industry. More than 1800 families have received solar systems through GRID Alternatives to date, and nearly 10,000 individuals have gained hands-on experience in solar installation, helping prepare them for jobs in the industry.