The nonprofits GRID Alternatives and Homeboy Industries have partnered with SunEdison to install solar energy systems on six homes in California. Most recently (Sept. 10), they installed a 2 kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) array on the home of a nurse in Los Angeles’ Boyle Heights neighborhood.
The arrays and other materials installed through the partnership were donated by SunEdison and are being installed in an area of Los Angeles that’s not eligible for any government funding, according to SunEdison. The most recent system being installed will help nurse Julie Robles reduce her family’s energy costs by 75 to 90 percent, according to SunEdison. Her family includes her daughter and granddaughter, a baby. Robels is on temporary disability as she awaits surgery. The array is expected to save the family roughly $18,000 over the system’s anticipated lifespan.
"This is a great example of transforming lives through innovation on a variety of fronts," Ravi Sankaran, director of Corporate Social Responsibility for SunEdison, said. "Not only are we empowering the Robles family with energy savings and reliable power for years to come, but the job training is also transforming the lives of those in the Homeboy Industries program. It's an honor for us to volunteer our time and to partner with GRID Alternatives in this important effort."
GRID Alternatives is an organization that currently operates in California and Colorado, and it’s planning to expand into New York and New Jersey this year. The nonprofit uses what it calls a “barn-raising” model to install solar power on homes, relying on volunteers and trainees to help install arrays on the homes of low-income residents. GRID Alternatives has installed more than 8.5 megawatts of solar on more than 3,000 homes since launching in 2004.
Through the partnership with Homeboy industries in California, GRID Alternatives has installed solar on more than 10 homes. The organization serves high-risk, formerly gang-involved men and women and it offers—among other services—a Solar Panel Installation Training & Certification Program. The partnership allows Homeboy Industries’ trainees to get hands-on experience as they continue learning. Already six of its trainees have found jobs in the solar industry.
"We believe that solar technology should be available to everyone, and particularly to families in neighborhoods such as Boyle Heights," said Michael Kadish, Executive Director of GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles. "We are grateful to SunEdison for their support of today's installation, and look forward to working with them, Homeboy Industries and our other partners to create more job training opportunities and bring solar to even more low-income families in the City of Los Angeles."