Turning on the lights for Colorado
We've now installed 27 solar electric systems in Colorado and our clients are starting to see savings. For Grace, our first client in 2013, turning on her solar means turning on the lights.Read more...
GRID Alternatives Colorado installs solar electric systems for low-income families throughout the state, providing families with needed savings and training Colorado workers for jobs in the growing solar industry.
GRID Colorado NewsSee all news
- Details of our recent Solar Spring Break with University of Central Arkansas's Environmental Alliance… Read more
- Maria Mora talks about what solar means to her family and hopes her story will inspire more Latinos to… Read more
- GRID Alternatives Colorado reflects on an amazing first year and what we're looking forward to in 2014. Read more
- Every day our construction staff and volunteers are out on the roof helping families put food on the… Read more
- Diane is a single mother who was injured several years ago, leaving her disabled and on oxygen 24/7.… Read more
- It was a typical GRID Colorado day - sunny skies and an awesome team of volunteers, a raising solar panels… Read more
- Congratulations to Ron Binz, Chair of the GRID Alternatives Colorado Board of Directors, for being nominated… Read more
- On May 29th, GRID Alternatives Colorado formally kicked off its Solar Affordable Housing Program by installing… Read more
- It's time to get on the roof! GRID Alternatives Colorado, in partnership with Veterans Green Jobs, has… Read more
Solar Spring Break: From Impact Drills to Lasting Impact
Not many can say that they volunteered their spring break week installing solar panels in the lovely city of Denver, CO. But that’s exactly what University of Central Arkansas’s Environmental Alliance Group did. That coveted week of camaraderie students normally spend beach-side blowing off steam, 10 UCA students hopped in a car and came to spend their time with GRID Alternatives Colorado and install solar for two local families.
In addition to participating in GRID’s ‘classroom on the roof’ installing solar systems that will save each of the families an average of 80% on their electricity bills, the group spent the last two days learning and working with local organizations having missions similar to GRID.
The Solar Spring Breakers spent Thursday morning with the elementary students of Rocky Mountain School of Expeditionary Learning, helping them build solar cookers, wind turbines, and micro-hydro projects out of every day materials. The children’s hands shot up over and over again, and we were all extremely impressed with the curiosity the students expressed when discussing solar energy. Later that day a visit to the Growhaus provided insight into food justice. GRID works to provide energy independence in neighborhoods blighted by years of industrial pollution, along with education in the solar field. Growhaus, similarly, brings together education and healthy food initiatives in the heavily polluted food desert of Elyria Swansea. Friday we wrapped up the week at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and with a tour of SMA’s manufacturing facility. As the students placed grounding strips into their shoes and donned electromagnetic static proof smocks, they knew they were in for a fun and interesting end to the week.
During a break on the second day of installs, Will remarked, “We’re going to look back on this and be like, ‘remember that time we went to Colorado and literally installed solar panels?’”
To which Phoenix replied, “Exactly, and 20 years from now those solar panels will still be there.”
“Yeah…that’s lasting impact”, said Shelby.
Thanks to the students who traveled to Denver and volunteered with GRID Alternatives. And thanks to the organizations and staff who helped make this week a success.
-Courtney Boyd, GRID Colorado Volunteer Training Fellow
Maria Mora's Call to Action
Maria Mora lives with her husband and 3 children in the Globeville neighborhood of Denver. She moved to the United States 20 years ago, to work towards a better life with more opportunities for her family. GRID Alternatives Colorado recently installed a solar system on her roof that will save the Mora's 70% on each monthly electricity bill, savings they plan to use towards their children's education and taking a vacation as a family in the summer.
In this video, Maria talks about what solar means to her family, and hopes that her testimony will inspire others within the Latino Community to go solar as well.
Our New Year's Resolution
GRID Alternatives Colorado is extremely thankful for an amazing 2013. It's been an exciting year for all of us. We've established our new office and brought solar to low-income families all over the greater Denver area, and made a lot of friends along the way.
At GRID we're all about making solar accessible for everyone. Not just for city dwellers, but rural communities - both in the US and now even internationally. Here at GRID Colorado, we're going to expand solar access in 2014 with our Solar Road Show this summer, which will give us the opportunity to bring our services to low-income families in rural areas of Colorado such as the Western Slope. Want to get involved? Sign up for our newsletter and monthly updates or stay posted here at www.gridalternatives.org.
In 2014 we're most excited to be able to serve more families like the Reeds, our last installation of 2013. Linda and Bruce welcomed us with open arms into their NE Denver home, and are ecstatic to have realized their dream of a solar roof. Linda, pictured here in front of her home, is a mother of 2 and has been on disability since 2000. She has wanted solar energy for over 10 years, and never thought she'd be able to afford it until she heard about GRID Alternatives. GRID was able to install a system on the Reed home that will cover over 60% of their electricity usage - a huge help to reduce monthly utility costs that reached $400 at times. Linda plans to use the savings to help support her children, who are both in college. Linda loves solar because it is "helping to save the environment, it's a natural source of free energy from the sun, and of course the savings...I'm looking forward to never seeing another bill in the $400 range again!"
We love solar for all those reasons too, and we can't wait to meet more families like the Reeds all over the Centennial state in what's sure to be an awesome 2014. So what's our New Year's Resolution? Solar to the people!
The Power of Working Together
Every day our construction staff and volunteers are out on the roof helping families put food on the table. Last week, GRID Alternatives installed solar electric systems for two families with the help of volunteer teams from SunEdison and Real Goods Solar. The two solar companies each sponsored an installation and donated their time to help bring solar into the Globeville neighborhood in northeast Denver.
This is a pretty wonderful thing, and when local nonprofits and businesses come together, we can revitalize whole communities. In addition to GRID and our volunteers, more than two dozen community organizations and 2,000 volunteers partnered with Habitat Metro Denver to celebrate the 2013 Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project and support the Globeville neighborhood.
Thank you to Real Goods Solar and SunEdison for all your hard work, helping launch our efforts in Globeville, and being a part of bringing up a whole community.
Making a Difference
Diane is a single mother who was injured several years ago leaving her disabled and on oxygen 24/7. Her medical equipment keeps her electricity bills through the roof, and she supports her and herself and her disabled adult son with Social Security and a part time at Target. Because of her medical complications, she is unable to work extended hours, making it very difficult to pay all their bills every month.
We met Diane when she pulled up to an install in her neighborhood and asked for more information about how she could possibly put solar on her roof. After she learned more about solar and qualifying for our Solar Affordable Housing Program, GRID Alternatives was able to install a 3.4 kW system on Diane’s home, which will cover 65% of her electricity bill over the next few decades.
Her son Stone is very excited about learning about solar and renewable energy, and was ecstatic to help on the install alongside our community volunteers. Find out more about volunteering and how you can help.
No Ordinary Day
It was a typical GRID Colorado day - sunny skies and an awesome team of volunteers, a raising solar panels to the roof of the small home of another wonderful family.
And suddenly there was nothing typical about it. Dozens of people began to descend upon the front lawn of Rick and Roberta Lopez. The street filled up with cars. Reporters mingled to interview the crowd, the staff, the family and the volunteers.
It was GRID's 9th installation for Colorado in 2013 and we decided it was time to shout it to the Rocky mountaintops. Ron Binz, GRID Colorado's board chair and President Barack Obama’s FERC chair nominee, greeted eager guests and reporters alike. Jeff Ackermann, Colorado Energy Office Director, harnessed up, got up on the roof and laid panels with the team. Ashley Grosh from Wells Fargo's Environmental Affairs gave an inspirational speech about the corporate and personal benefits of supporting and volunteering with GRID. Rick Lopez finished the program off. “All of these volunteers represent the blessings in my life. Good things just keep happening to me,” Lopez said to the crowd.
The event was a celebration of our accomplishments to date and a spotlight on what it is yet to come.
Our enthusiastic gratitude to our dedicated volunteers, a resounding applause to Rick and Roberta Lopez who could not have done more to help, and of course a very special thanks to everyone who joined us.
Congratulations Ron Binz!
Congratulations to Ron Binz, Chair of the GRID Alternatives Colorado Board of Directors, for being nominated by President Barack Obama to be the next Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) chairman! We met Ron during our pilot project in Lakewood in Fall 2012 and he's been a great leader of our Board since the beginning of this year.
Ron Binz most recently served as the Chairman of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. He was appointed by Colorado Governor Bill Ritter in January 2007 and served until April 2011. As Chairman, Ron led the Colorado PUC in implementing the many policy changes championed by the Governor and the Legislature to bring forward Colorado’s “New Energy Economy.” Ron was an active member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, serving as Chair of NARUC’s Task Force on Climate Policy, and as a member of both the Energy Resources and Environment Committee and the International Affairs Committee.
Wish Ron luck getting confirmed for his FERC nomination!
First install done, many more to come!
On May 29th, GRID Alternatives Colorado formally kicked off its Solar Affordable Housing Program by installing a solar electric system at no cost for a low-income family in Denver’s Elyria Swansea neighborhood. Our first client, Grace Gautier, has owned her home for 26 years and has used her tax return dollars every year to do home improvements. She worked in the medical field, is now retired, lives on social security and has full custody of her two grandchildren.
The program is bringing clean, affordable solar power to Grace’s home and low-income homeowners throughout Colorado while providing volunteers, veterans, students and job trainees with hands-on installation experience.
Army Captain Daniel Moore was one of the volunteers on Grace’s roof that morning. He was a student at Ecotech Institute who volunteered during GRID's Colorado pilot project last fall. He wrote us this note before he redeployed to Afghanistan on June 5th:
“I just wanted to write a quick note to say that I appreciate the opportunity GRID has given to me to help out. It's not often that I feel so fulfilled after a hard day's work, and other than my service in the military, rarely have I been so proud to be a part of something that is larger than myself. I will miss Grid and all the people I have met there while I'm gone on my next tour, but I can't wait to come back to get that Orange T-shirt and continue to contribute what I can. Who knows, maybe I'll even earn a blue one someday. Good luck in assisting those that need it find green alternatives, I'll see you when I get back.”
Volunteers like Danny, philanthropic support, and partnerships with government, corporate, and community organizations will help GRID Alternatives Colorado to provide solar to 30 low-income families in 2013. By 2015 we hope to grow our statewide impact to more than 100 installations per year.
Colorado households interested in applying for a solar installation, and corporate and community volunteers who want to get involved may email Colorado@gridalternatives.org or call 303-968-1327.
Time to ramp up!
It's time to get on the roof! GRID Alternatives Colorado, in partnership with Veterans Green Jobs, has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) to support the installation of solar electric systems for 10-14 low-income families in Denver and Jefferson Counties before September.
In addition to receiving solar panels on their homes, each family will have received energy efficiency and weatherization upgrades from Veterans Green Jobs. Energy efficiency is the most important first step to going solar - it reduces energy use and high, burdensome utility bills, increases health and safety, and lowers environmental impacts. Reduced energy use of each family helps GRID stretch our resources to serve more families in need!
Once a home has been weatherized, GRID volunteers and workforce trainees install solar PV systems with a lifetime of 30 years. With our dedicated team and barn-raising model, each installation has a tremendous impact on our community:
- $24,393 of savings for each family served
- 149,006 kWh of electricity generated by the sun
- 116 tons of greenhouse gas emissions
- Equivalent of 21 cars taken off the road for one year
- Equivalent of 2,722 Trees planted
Our CEO grant got us halfway to our Colorado promise of 30 installations by year's end. You can help by making a charitable contribution today of $25, $50, $100 or more and invest in our next family's home installation. Please give today!
5/15/2013 Shirley Moore and Kristina Sickles
Photo Left: Construction Manager, Rob Taylor, doing site visits and gearing up for installations!