It is true, as the saying goes, that the sun shines on us all equally. Yet, when it comes to harnessing the sun’s energy as a form of clean power, the cards may be stacked against those who cannot afford to install solar technology. GRID Alternatives — a non-profit founded in 2001 by two socially and environmentally minded engineers — seeks to bring green energy to low-income neighborhoods, individual households, and otherwise underrepresented members of the community. Through their core program, the Solar Affordable Housing Program, GRID Alternatives prepares volunteers and job trainees to install solar arrays and provide them with the resources to create sustainable, economically feasible systems.
From their first two pilot installations in 2004, GRID Alternatives has grown to facilitate hundreds of programs a year through their many California offices. The Single-family Affordable Solar Homes Program (SASH) functions on behalf of the California Public Utilities Commission by offering incentives on photo-voltaic systems for qualifying participants in the PG & E, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric areas. In addition to SASH, GRID Alternatives operates three programs that provide workforce training in the solar industry, including local development partnerships, subcontractor partnerships, and team leader volunteer opportunities. Efficiency audits and savings calculations are also available to clients, and low-income residents can receive assistance in applying for free solar assistance programs.
The GRID Alternatives Central Coast office was established in 2010, and covers the Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara counties. Locals can check their page for regularly occurring installation events, fundraisers, sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, and information on who qualifies for their services.
Spread a little sunshine to those who need it most! Volunteer or donate to GRID Alternatives!